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Russ Freeman, Richard Twardzik, Jimmy Rowles, Clare Fischer: Mosaic Select 19: The Pacific Jazz Piano Trios

Despite degrees of separation and musical style, Mosaic’s throwing together of these pianists affiliated with West Coast jazz of the 1950s and early ’60s makes sense, largely because each has too little or too much to fill one disc alone. This three-CD set, available only from mosaicrecords.com, is the perfect solution.

Russ Freeman’s name usually comes in the same breath as Chet Baker, since the pianist served as a member and musical director of Baker’s first quartet. By the time Freeman recorded as a leader in 1952 and 1953, he proved that Bud Powell’s influence had already resonated across the country. Most of these 14 tracks appeared on Pacific Jazz 10-inch records, with Shelly Manne drumming on all but one session and Joe Mondragon or Red Mitchell playing bass. Freeman brings a funky lilt to Charlie Parker’s “Steeplechase” and several standards, but most significant are his inventive originals like “Laugh Cry” and “Bock’s Tops,” which evoke Horace Silver.

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