The Kelly Green Trio opens its debut album, Volume One, with an almost 10-minute rendition of the Jerome Kern/Johnny Mercer chestnut “I’m Old-Fashioned” that establishes the opposite premise of the lyric. Subtly reharmonizing the standard, the ensemble sounds anything but out of date, streamlining Kern’s already compressed melody without detracting from the beauty of his ingenious line. It’s a performance that sets a high bar, which Kelly mostly meets through a program full of songs from the first half of the 20th century.
As a pianist, vocalist, arranger, and bandleader, Green maintains a rare balance, interacting with her trio while serving as her own foil. Guided by Evan Hyde’s sure and supple drum work and Alex Tremblay’s bass, the group applies its organically state-of-the-art dynamic to an intriguing array of settings. At more than nine minutes, Harry Warren and Mack Gordon’s 1945 hit “I Wish I Knew” gets an expansive treatment similar to Kern, as the group drills down into the song’s wistful and uncertain mood.