Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

This is the 1st of your 3 free articles

Become a member for unlimited website access and more.

FREE TRIAL Available!

Learn More

Already a member? Sign in to continue reading

Various Artists: Les Paul Trio & Friends: A Jazz Tribute to Les

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Thanks to many memorable Monday nights, Manhattan’s Iridium is widely known as the house that Les Paul built. So it’s not surprising that the club should launch its new recording label with a tribute to the late guitar legend. And, of course, it’s only fitting that part of the proceeds from album sales will benefit the Les Paul Foundation’s efforts to support “music education, engineering and innovation.”

While a remarkably wide array of artists sat in with Paul at the Iridium over the years, these recordings post-date his 2009 passing and feature his namesake trio-guitarist Lou Pallo, pianist John Colianni and bassist-vocalist Nicki Parrott-performing alone and with guests. The trio-plus-one collaborations, though enjoyable, are pretty much what you’d expect coming from Jane Monheit (a breezy “East of the Sun [West of the Moon]”) and Nels Cline (the now entrancing, now jarring “A.I.R. [All India Radio]”). The teaming of Stanley Jordan and Bucky Pizzarelli on “Body and Soul,” however, is something special, a cross-generational treat that would have delighted Paul.

As for the trio performances, they consistently pay off, starting with an ebullient, instantly Paul-evoking take on “Brazil.” Each member of the group has a winning turn-or two, as in the case of Parrott, who vocally interprets “How High the Moon” and Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.” Pallo and Colianni are particularly well matched, always resourceful and sometimes appropriately dynamic. Which is why A Jazz Tribute to Les is really more than its title suggests. It’s also a reminder that Monday nights at the Iridium are still worth checking out.

Originally Published