Jazz Arts Trio: Tin Tin Deo

In a unique hybrid form, which may be a harbinger of further explorations to come, classically trained pianist Frederick Moyer and his equally talented colleagues drummer Peter Fraenkel and bassist Peter Tillotson take a decidedly classical approach to creating jazz piano trio music by transcribing note for note outstanding performances of some of their jazz heroes.

On this re-creation of a classic Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen performance from the 1964 LP Easy Walker, these master musicians treat this magical moment as a vehicle for emulation without sacrificing their own interpretive vitality. Critics may see this as lacking in the spontaneity of original thought or of a type of savant replication without artistic merit. To my mind, these performances stand on their own, no less legitimate than brilliant performances of Beethoven or Mozart by contemporary classical masters. Can one transcendent moment be re-created by careful transcription and be forever preserved outside of that single recording? Should we even try? Isn't the beauty of improvisational music that its stream of consciousness may never be repeated in precisely the same way? The Jazz Arts Trio seems bent on proving that these concepts need not be sacrosanct. If Bartok or Schoenberg can be preserved forever note for note, why not Peterson or Evans or Silver?

Moyer seems particularly in awe of Oscar Peterson. His fluid mastery of some of Peterson's stunning techniques on "Tin Tin Deo" is inspiring to behold. Having never heard Peterson's original version, I can only imagine its magnificence. Fraenkel does a laudatory job of re-creating what must have been one of Thigpen's most inspired performances on cowbell and traps. This is a praiseworthy offering by master musicians who through care and reverence have delivered a thoroughly entertaining piece of music. They pay homage to past performances while injecting their own essence and enthusiasm, making this classic fresh and vital. It is also a unique attempt to memorialize magical performances of great artists by preserving their brilliance through scrupulous transcription of their finest performances a noble endeavor.

November 10, 2008 · 0 comments


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