Jazz Arts Trio: My Foolish Heart


My Foolish Heart


Jazz Arts Trio


Tribute (JRI Recordings J124)

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Frederick Moyer (piano),

Peter Tillotson (bass), Peter Fraenkel (drums)


Composed by Ned Washington & Victor Young


Recorded: Acton, MA, August and December 2007


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

I have been suggesting for years that jazz, even fusion, will eventually be treated as classical music. I am pleased to discover that the Jazz Arts Trio, accomplished in both the classical and jazz fields, has already begun that process. After playing together as high-school students, these superb musicians took different routes, yet three decades later found themselves together again. For this project, they painstakingly transcribed some of the greatest jazz piano trio performances ever captured, then re-created every note and accent live for their CD Tribute.

The band's reenactment of one of the greatest jazz ballads, "My Foolish Heart," replicates the Bill Evans Trio's live version featuring Scott LaFaro and Paul Motion in a famous Village Vanguard performance from 1961. Of all of the tributes on the album, "My Foolish Heart," with its fragile beauty and melancholy melody, best lends itself to classical treatment. Bill Evans approached jazz with a certain classical bent anyway, although unlike the Jazz Arts Trio, he created his own improvisations.

I have heard the original Evans performance, but don't have it in my collection to compare it beat by beat with this re-creation. While that may have been fun, it would have missed the point. A note-for-note replication of any performance could be one of the hardest things to do in jazz. Being able to sound like a soloing Bill Evans and his groundbreaking rhythm section is probably even harder. But we don't give points in jazz for cloning. Clones may possess identical physiology, but they haven't the same personality or spirit. The music still has to move us. This performance does so. I have listened to it several times. As far as I am concerned, this could just as well have been the original group. I feel every sentiment in this loving and skillful re-creation as I did on the Evans original. Of course, this is not really a jazz performance per se as there is no improvisation. But it may be a precursor to the future of some jazz. For that reason this conceptual presentation is an important addition to the jazz genre.

Pianist Fred Moyer is the main cog in Tribute because he is the pianist. But let's hope there are two more Jazz Arts Trio re-creations Tribute Bass and Tribute Drums. It's only fair that Tillotson and Fraenkel get their chances to be main cogs too.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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