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Peter Zak Trio: For Tomorrow

These journeymen New York City musicians are not household names. But together, Peter Zak, Paul Gill and Willie Jones III constitute one of the most polished, intelligent, swinging piano trios now playing jazz in New York or anywhere else.

Zak’s total album craftsmanship is impressive. The program is fresh, balanced and varied, with an emphasis on strong underplayed works by jazz composer-keyboardists. Larry Young’s “Plaza de Toros” is first about three separate, synergistic rhythmic streams-and then only about Jones’ hip, tumbling solo. Bud Powell’s “Strictly Confidential” has a suave unison theme statement by Zak and Gill, creatively altered chords and a silk-lined groove. “Actual Proof” is an orchestral acoustic-trio arrangement of a tune from Herbie Hancock’s plugged-in Headhunter period. Typically for Zak, his choice of a Monk piece is atypical. “Wee See” is imaginatively segmented and reassembled.

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