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Frank Hailey-Eric Zukoski Trio: An Old Sweet Song

This recording describes itself as “a concept album that features soulful, groove-heavy jazz interpretations of popular compositions not normally associated with the jazz genre.” It is a curious description, given that several of the tunes here are in fact staples of the jazz genre.

The versions of these songs performed by pianist Frank Hailey, bassist Eric Zukoski and drummer Michael Hailey add little to the archives. Whereas Charles Lloyd can play the melody of “Georgia on My Mind” and break your heart, and Stanley Jordan and Ann Dyer have taken fascinating liberties with “Eleanor Rigby,” and at least 50 jazz musicians have created interesting personal interpretations of Jobim’s “Wave,” the Hailey-Zukoski trio turns them into jazz elevator music. Every tune is reduced to a down-the-middle, amiably bouncing lowest common denominator.

According to its press release, An Old Sweet Song seeks to be “an album with broad appeal to not just jazzbos, but fans of popular music of all styles.” Fair enough. But jazzbos beware.

Originally Published