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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Dan Trudell Plays the Piano

No Number



  1. Isn't She Lovely
  2. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart
  3. McCoy for Now
  4. Jonesin'
  5. The Old Black Magic
  6. If Ever I Would Leave You
  7. The Worth of a Woman
  8. Soulville.

Dan Trudell (piano); Joe Sanders (bass); Matt Wilson (drums) [58:26]

Best known for his work on the trusty Hammond B3, Dan Trudell here ventures into purely pianistic waters. Admirers of the hard-swinging organist can be reassured that he is no less committed in this trio undertaking with the supportive bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Matt Wilson.

This is a hard-swinging trio that takes a varied repertoire, including staples by Ellington and Horace Silver, adds classics by Loewe and Arlen, introduces two Trudell originals, and shakes up the mix with songs by Stevie Wonder, and – the most intriguing of all – Alicia Keys.

Isn’t She Lovely gets a swinging treatment with some hard-driving playing all-round and makes for an appetising opener. Some Tatumesque right-hand runs illuminate I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart and some of the detonatory left-hand figures seem to summon up the ultra-virtuosic shade of Oscar Peterson. Sanders’s bass makes its powerful presence felt here. Trudell salutes McCoy Tyner with some effortlessly fluent lines in McCoy for Now and brings that characteristic sense of rolling dynamism to the proceedings. His other original pays homage to another pianistic titan, Hank Jones, a performance that exudes dextrous swing and hints of badinage in his exchanges with his two confreres.

The longest track is Harold Arlen’s That Old Black Magic – oddly replacing ‘That’ with ‘The’ in the track listing - with some extensive and quite dramatic piano styling, a good bass solo – Sanders hums along – and articulately supportive drumming work from Wilson. Alicia Key’s The Worth of a Woman offers a ballad opportunity in which the song is ingeniously co-opted into the piano trio family. Soul comes to call in the last track where we also hear the only arco bass solo. It ends the disc on a pleasing note.

I would only say that Trudell’s one demerit is his rather insistent approach, which finds him pressing too hard too often, as if keen to drive maximal contrasts into his solos. A defter approach would have paid greater dividends. Other than that, this is a nicely swing album.

Jonathan Woolf

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