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Peter Martin: Something Unexpected

New Orleans pianist-composer Peter Martin gets his kicks and then some with his quintet on Something Unexpected (MaxJazz MXJ 202; 72:17). Recorded during a live club date in St. Louis, Martin benefits from a strong rhythm section with bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Adonis Rose providing the pulse for Nicholas Payton and Brice Winston to work out on trumpet and tenor, respectively. Payton in particular plays with a crackling energy, heating up standards like Kenny Dorham’s “Lotus Blossom.” Everyone gets a chance to stoke the fires on the up-tempo numbers “Attestation,” based on the changes of Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation,” and Jackie McLean’s “Dr. Jackle.” But it’s the two ballads and the two Jobim songs that make the deepest impression. Martin plays an unaccompanied and moving version of “Triste,” and his intimate duet with Winston brings out the melodic beauty and harmonic sophistication of “Corcovado.” The set’s final tune, Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” might have worked better if the band was a little more funked up. Nice try though.

Originally Published