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Phil Wright: Feeling Right

A veteran pianist-arranger, Phil Wright has accrued laudable credits from the late 1950s working with countless luminaries in both jazz and R&B. Though he has long maintained his own performing groups, he hadn’t recorded as leader until now. For his debut, Wright delivers a lively nine-tune spree of mostly originals performed cohesively with Bruno Carr (drums) and Andy Simpkins (bass). Wright’s melodiousness, keyboard command, spontaneous inventions, and propensity for crafting well-arranged tunes with his trio add up to an agreeable listen. Originals such as “Hot Mama,” “Sometimes Samba,” “Circle,” and “Sweet Summer Breeze” are cordially-rendered, potential standards destined to charm you with their catchy rhythms and friendly harmonies. Wright, an experienced accompanist to singers Abbey Lincoln, Nancy Wilson, Lorez Alexandria, and others, brilliantly comps guest vocalist Barbara Morrison, who displays seasoned flair on two elegant ballads (the only tunes not written by Wright), “Never Let Me Go” and “Detour Ahead.” But it’s the trio settings where Wright’s piano mastery radiates best on this very favorable debut.

Originally Published