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Uri Caine: Blue Wail

Uri Caine has all the chops a pianist could reasonably ask for and a familiarity with a variety of genres inside and outside of jazz. What it seems he could use more of is focus. He’s played in a lot of contexts and recently got some attention for his work with Mahler’s material. Here he’s in a trio with bassist James Genus and drummer Ralph McDonald. Nine of the ten compositions are his.

Caine swings easily and has a nice, light touch here, drawing his style from many sources, including McCoy Tyner, Wynton Kelly and several classical composers. He blends these influences skillfully, but doesn’t cover new ground; in fact his playing wouldn’t have been considered particularly modern fifteen years ago. Most jazz pianists don’t come close to accomplishing what Caine’s been able to do, and I enjoy listening to his work on this CD.

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