Review by Brad Walseth
Swinging pianist, George Colligan has played on hundreds of recordings as sideman for artists such as Cassandra Wilson, Ravi Coltrane, Christian McBride, the Mingus Big Band and Phil Woods. On "Runaway," his nineteeth release as leader, he clearly displays the diversity that has made him such an in-demand keyboardist.
Colligan's tastes are wide ranging, and he writes anything from acoustic trio straight-ahead jazz ("End of a Dynasty," "Ghostland," the clever "All the Things You Are" -reworking, "R U Things the All?") to pop ballads ("When I Go," "Forlorning" and "Be Gentle") to Latin (the title track) to avant garde ("Skeltons in the Closet") to '70s-style fusion electric piano and synthesizer pieces like "The Righteous." Throughout the presentation of these well-crafted and quite listenable compositions, Colligan also appears on trumpet and is aided by a talented group, including an impressive rhythm duo of E.J. Strickland on drums and Josh Ginsburg on bass. Kerry Politzer also appears on vocals (on two tracks) and guitarist Tom Guarna provides quite a few sparks in his spirited interplay with Colligan.
Possibly displeasing some purists, Colligan strikes his own course in bringing pop and fusion elements into some of his work. Having grown up during the time, I too have an affinity for some of the work of the '70s that is often maligned these days. In any case, pieces like his "Waltz for All the Things We Meant to Do and Never Did" and "Innocent Youth" will have everyone cheering. For a pleasing musical mixture you may want to "run away" and pick up a copy.