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Peter Bernstein Trio: Peter Bernstein Trio: Live at Smoke

Guitarist Peter Bernstein fronts his longstanding trio, with drummer Bill Stewart and organist Larry Goldings, at Manhattan’s Upper West Side jazz haven Smoke. (They actually began playing together during the summer of 1989 at this same room in its previous incarnation as Auggie’s.) Together they convey an uncanny chemistry that only comes from years of bandstand experience.

Bernstein’s warm, appealing tone, clean articulation and tastefully swinging style–qualities he emulated from his mentors Atilla Zoller and Jim Hall–are on full display here in a set of uptempo burners (“Puttin’ on the Ritz”), funky boogaloos (“Bobblehead”), sublime ballads (“Spring Is Here,” “I Should Care”) and earthy blues (Ahmad Jamal’s “Night Mist Blues”). He shows a decidedly more modern streak on harmonically adventurous material like his “Dragonfly” and Goldings’ “The Acrobat.” Goldings, a marvelous improviser with a strong rhythmic sensibility, shines on “Jive Coffee,” Bernstein’s 5/4 take on “Tea for Two.”

Originally Published