Nick Brignola: Flight of the Eagle

Hearing Nick Brignola soar on his baritone does bring to mind watching eagles and albatrosses and vultures and magnificent frigatebirds: how do they keep those big engines in the air? And make it seem so effortless? The birds have their thermal air currents to glide on, and Nick, well, has his superbly buoyant trio: Kenny Barron, Rufus Reid, and Victor Lewis. Not only do they play as light as a breeze, at whatever tempo and tack, they know all the nooks and crannies of the terrain of the surroundings familiar (“Body and Soul,” “My Foolish Heart”) and off the beaten track (Irving Berlin’s 1919 hit “A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody,” Billy Taylor’s ebullient Latin “Diz.”) Brignola’s snub, nasal singing in the bebop vernacular is a song of joy, of freedom. Have no fear of flying with this quartet.