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Stevens, Spiegel, and Ferguson: Points of View

Not easy to create one unit of three minds and personalities. Hard to forget ego and just listen, respond, work together in service to the music. Pianist Michael Jefry Stevens, drummer Jeff “Siege” Siegel and bassist Tim Ferguson are a trio, not just three guys playing at the same time. Their tight ensemble sound makes their second CD for the Imaginary label a fine, swinging affair-happy, interesting and propulsive.

Their robust “On Green Dolphin Street” breathes life into an old war-horse. Other selections include several waltzes, viz., a pensive version of “Bicycle Built for Two” and “Morning Song,” a lyrical original by Stevens; a loose-jointed version of Ornette Coleman’s “The Blessing” and a searching development of John Coltrane’s “After The Rain.” Jerome Kern’s “Yesterdays” provides the harmonic map for daring exploration. The trio moves to a semi-Latin groove for Stevens’ “Almost a Rhythm Tune.” “Sir Roland” by Siegel is a virtuosic tribute to the legendary pianist-arranger; finally, two originals (one an eccentric march) by Ferguson, and a rumba-bop version of Matt Dennis’ “Angel Eyes.”

Originally Published