Roger Kellaway: Killer Joe
Roger Kellaway Trio
Heroes (IPO Recordings IPOC1010)
Dan Lutz (bass).
Composed by Benny Golson.
Recorded: Ojai, CA, November 4-5, 2005
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Dedicated to Oscar Peterson's 1950s drummerless trios, Roger Kellaway's 2006 CD Heroes also by implication pays homage to the King Cole Trio, which pioneered the piano/guitar/bass coterie in 1937. We should immediately reassure law-&-order types, however, that the title of Benny Golson's "Killer Joe," first vamped by The Jazztet in 1960 and covered to hit effect by Quincy Jones in 1969, is a misnomer. Counselor Golson's opening recitative on the original track identifies Killer Joe merely as a ne'er-do-well ladies' man and smalltime gambler. There's no evidence that Joe is a hardcore criminal. Even so, he's obviously not someone you'd want hanging around the local schoolyard. Unless, that is, he's escorted by parole officer Kellaway with two husky deputies on guitar and bass. In that case, even the kiddies will dig this arresting (ouch!) evidence, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that, after a 70-year stretch, Nat Cole's instrumentation still sounds as copasetic as the day it was arraigned.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz