Jack Brownlow: Suddenly It’s Bruno

According to JazzTimes contributing writer Doug Ramsey’s liner notes, Brownlow is a legend in the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle pianist, who has been playing since the 1930s, has been an informal teacher to Randy Brecker, Rufus Reid, Gary Peacock and Don Lanphere, among others. Paul Desmond wanted to record with him. Unfortunately, scheduling was a problem and it never happened.

Working with bassist Jeff Johnson and either Dean Hodges or Jason Vontver on drums, Brownlow performs 11 standards and a couple of originals on this album. His romantic chordal styleis reminiscent of Bill Evans, Tommy Flanagan and Kenny Barron. Most of the tempos are in the slow to medium range. Johnson, a well-rounded bassist, solos frequently with a mix of firm percussive figures and agile melodic lines. The piano-bass-drums exchanges that crop up frequently flow cleanly and in context.

“Suddenly It’s Spring” opens the album on a bouncy note. The titles alone-“The Thrill Is Gone,” “Moonlight,” “As Long as There’s Music,” “Detour Ahead,” et al.-give you a feeling for Brownlow’s area of expertise, honed during decades of solo gigs at restaurants and bars. The emotional aura of the trio’s performances sneaks up on you. At the end of this album, you might find yourself saying, “That’s perfect.”