Dan Cray Trio
"Over Here Over Heard"

(Crawdad Productions)
Over Here Over Heard

Review by Brad Walseth

Recorded live at Pop's for Champagne last November, the Dan Cray Trio's latest release, "Over Here Over Heard" captures the pianist Cray, drummer Greg Wyser-Pratte and bassist Clark Sommers covering a pleasant mix of songs including a bouncy version of Harlen/Mercer's "That Old Black Magic," Jobim's "Useless Landscape," Wayne Shorter's "Hammer Head" and Henry Mancini's "Moon River." The songs are performed with sensitivity and a sense of subtlety that may require a few listens to glean all the treasures embedded in Cray's melodic inventions and the nuances of the group interplay.

Overall, the tone is fairly straightforward and somewhat on the placid side. Wyser-Pratte helps kick the energy level a notch at times with his drum work, but Sommers is, while tasteful, somewhat muted - an unfortunate occurrence given his energetic work on Geof Bradfield's recent "Urban Nomad." Cray takes a gentle approach most of the time, with a fine ear for melodic improvisation in the style of Bill Evans and Vince Guaraldi. Perhaps the best example of this is on his excellent original number, "At Least," which seems to hang like a suspended snowflake in the air. And the version of "Barbara" finds the trio at their peak with vigorous effort put forth by all.

Although overall it may seem a bit on the understated side for some listeners tastes, piano trio lovers should enjoy this album.

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