New York Electric Piano: Road to Newport
Road to Newport
New York Electric Piano
King Mystery (Buffalo Puppy 56-006)
Pat Daugherty (piano, Fender Rhodes),
Till Behler (tenor sax), Leon Gruenbaum (Samchillian), Tim Givens (bass), Aaron Comess (drums).
Composed by Pat Daugherty.
Recorded: New York, dates unknown; released November 2008
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
New York Electric Piano was originally formed as a trio in 2003 by keyboardist Pat Daugherty to feature the Fender Rhodes, but has since expanded both in instrumentation and depth. The diverse and eclectic résumés of its members help explain the group's apparent ease with various types of fusion, whether the emphasis is on funk, jazz, blues, or beyond.
The concluding track on King Mystery, "Road to Newport," is a forceful take-no-prisoners romp in the best tradition and spirit of such groups as the Brecker Brothers, Spyro Gyra, and the Yellowjackets. The tune's title may be Daugherty's way of saying that this kind of groove could be their ticket to an eventual breakout appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival one summer, and he may be right. Till Behler's blaring tenor, along with Tim Givens's booming bassline, form an aggressive preamble that is followed by Behler and Daugherty's acoustic piano in a call-and-response exchange of an insinuating vamp. Daugherty's vigorous solo spot is driven by the insistent drumming of Aaron Comess. After a new melodic line is introduced, Behler solos concisely with an appealingly thick tone, as Daugherty offers robust interjections. The initial vamp returns, revisited this time by Daugherty on Fender Rhodes, as Leon Gruenbaum provides enticing background arpeggios on his keyboard invention, the Samchillian, which sounds like a cross between a synthesizer and a Theremin. Then Behler's wailing invocation of the vamp propels the piece to its final resting place. No long, rambling solos here, just a tightly conceived group effort, although you'd want to hear them stretch out on this in a live setting.
Reviewer: Scott Albin