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Concert Review: The Dan Nimmer Trio

Live at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center January 28, 2012

Of course I was interested in checking out a live performance by Dan Nimmer. In fact, I had been waiting for just such a date. Here is a young man from the Great Midwest who had gone to New York City and found a way to audition for Wynton Marsalis’ open piano chair. And get the gig! I admired his ability as Wynton’s accompanist, but I wanted to hear him on his own. The opportunity arose on a cold January night in Milwaukee, when Dan Nimmer graciously agreed to close the Eastside Jazzfest, a day-long teaching seminar for the youth of his hometown.

Nimmer chose a balance of originals and standards for this set as group leader. The trio began with his own “Lu’s Bounce,” a 12-minute uptempo workout that showed the pianist unafraid to take chances. As the number’s head led into improvisation, Nimmer immediately dove for deep water. A confident player, he was apparently untroubled about whether he could completely pull off each idea. He refused to take the safe path during this entire set, starting with measure one. That’s jazz!

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