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Oliver Jones: Just in Time

Jones seems another Oscar Peterson. A Canadian (like Peterson), he plays on top of the beat and is full of rippling embellishments and bouncy chords. This two-CD set was recorded live at the Montreal Bistro in Toronto. The pianist’s trio is in fine form, always swinging, always together. Bassist Dave Young and drummer Norman Marshall Villeneuve play in the tradition of in-the-groove time-keeping, synchronized ensemble accents, and swinging solos.

The program consists of mostly standards: a romping “Waltzing Matilda,” a twinkling “Someone to Watch Over Me,” a slow and bluesy “Willow, Weep for Me,” a rocketing “Well, You Needn’t,” et. al. On his “Something for Chuck,” Jones builds tension with a series of harmonically expanding tremolos and releases the energy in a stomping, Gene Harris style. (But overall, he is less bluesy than either Harris or Peterson.) On “Falling in Love With Love” he strokes the keys in a manner reminiscent of Erroll Garner.

This trio style has many adherents, both past and present, and Jones, Young, and Villeneuve are among the best.

Originally Published