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Manhattan Trinity: Make Me a Memory

The trinity in this case is pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist George Mraz and drummer Lewis Nash, with an occasional visit by saxophonist Teodross Avery. The sound is warm and soulful throughout, as the trio has no problem convincing listeners of their rapport. The title is taken from a Grover Washington Jr. song and the CD is a tribute to the late saxophonist and even though the sax has a minimal presence it is felt keenly in the title effort and Avery’s own “Peace and Love.” The selections are interesting and varied: the massaging of Lionel Richie’s “Hello” into a understated gem opens the door to endless interpretations of popular songs by musicians who can keep a tune’s essence while also leaving their impressions. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “A Felicidade” and Dexter Gordon’s “Catalonian Nights” have sunny dispositions; Gordon’s “Cheese Cake” is leg-shaking confection; and Herbie Hancock’s “Speak Like a Child” allows the trio time to cool down and swing quietly, but forcefully. Bravo to producer Todd Barkan in assembling the trio and allowing them do their stuff. Let’s here some more.

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