Larry Bluth/Don Messina/Bill Chatlan: Formations

This is one of the most interesting piano trio recordings to come down the pike in recent years. Pianist Larry Bluth takes a nod from Lennie Tristano, as the group reinvents popular standards such as “All of Me” and “Moonlight in Vermont.” There is a decidedly 1950s feel to it all, the smoky atmosphere hanging lazily in the background. Bluth uses block chords and perfectly executed just-behind-the-beat runs, spurred by the exacting walking bass of Messina and the quietly efficient drums of Chatlin. New ground is broken ever so slightly as patterns are reharmonized and tempos altered.