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Tom Schuman: Schuman Nature

Tom Schuman is best known as Spyro Gyra’s keyboardist, but on Schuman Nature (JazzBridge) he reveals a dimension of his artistry that is far removed from contemporary jazz. As he explains in the liner notes, he grew up listening to the likes of Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, Joe Farrell and McCoy Tyner, and the album showcases his jazz roots. Most of the tunes are performed in an acoustic trio setting with Schuman on piano, and the tunes are evenly divided between classics and originals. Schuman lets loose with some fleet fingerwork on Farrell’s “Moon Germs,” while the trio swings its way through the romantic “Portrait of Adrian,” and Schuman’s sprightly piano melody is well matched by Ameen Saleem’s animated bass lines on a charming version of Bill Evans’ “Waltz for Debby.” Schuman can be a showy pianist, but he also possesses a lyricism that is amply in evidence on the solo piano composition “For the Moment,” which concludes this elegant and very satisfying album.

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