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Ray Brown Trio: Live at Starbucks

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Live at Starbucks took place in Seattle in 1999, when pianist Geoff Keezer and drummer Karriem Riggins backed bassist Ray Brown. An unusual thing happened during that coffee klatch: another master class, aside from the one Brown gives, developed with Keezer. It begins with the muscular tremolos that end the first chorus of the second song, “When I Fall in Love,” and builds to the very end. At no time does Keezer get in the way of Brown; his comping always is respectful of the leader’s solo brilliance. But in his own solo excursions, Keezer displays overwhelming technique and he often outshines that of his mentor, Oscar Peterson-no easy task.

Keezer seems to have separate motors in each hand; they operate simultaneously on “Lament” and “I Should Care.” To be that contrapuntal one has to beside himself. Another amazing ability is the way Keezer plays with time. Listen to “Caravan” and see if you can stay with him-or with Riggins, a monster on drums, who contributes a memorable solo on “Mainstem.” Brown’s trademark, triplet-laced comping is all over the place, but his solo peak is reached on the slow “Starbucks Blues,” with Keezer comping by gently strumming on the piano strings.