Tommy Flanagan Trio
Sea Changes, Evidence CD ECD-22191-2, 1997
Not just another jazz piano trio album
With a propulsive left-hand figure that becomes a catchy
right hand theme, Flanagan had me hooked from the opening. Then he
reeled me in with his warm tone, relaxed swing, and bright melodies.
Sea Changes is that rare CDthe piano trio that
doesnt fade into the background. Here the ideas flow, chorus
after chorus, song after song. Its like reading a good book. Each
song has its own shape and logic, its own pace of unfolding, its
distinctive tone and feeling. Flanagan is the jazz musician as
raconteur, a virtuoso with wit and imagination, an intellectual who
likes to entertain, a historian who tells great stories. Imagine
Spaulding Gray with a piano.
Flanagan has first-hand knowledge of jazz history. He played on
some of the landmark recordings of the 1950sSonny
Rollins Saxophone Colossus, John
Coltranes Giant Stepsand played with Miles
Davis, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie and Charles Mingus, among
others. For much of the 60s, he performed with Ella Fitzgerald,
which was surely a masters class in putting over a song to an
audience. In the 80s and 90s, he has increasingly devoted
himself to leading his own sessions.
On Sea Changes, he is joined by long-time partners
Peter Washington on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. Both play
marvelously, turning in beautiful solos of their own. The ensemble
performances are so tight that only the music comes through.
Jazz history and Flanagans personal history ripple
through Sea Changes. Four Flanagan originals are reprised
from his first recording as a leader, which took place in Stockholm in
1957. Those songs were inspired by the sea, so Flanagan added to this
CD "How Deep Is The Ocean," "Between The Devil And The
Deep Blue Sea," and "I Cover The Waterfront." In a
sparkling rendition of "C. C. Rider," Flanagan never states
the melody but always lets you hear it. Mix in Charlie Parkers
"Relaxin At Camarillo" and several more titles, and the
result is over an hour of absolutely top-drawer jazz. If Wynton
Marsalis is right that were living in an era of great piano jazz,
then Sea Changes could be Exhibit A. Pete
of related interest
Sunset and the Mockingbird - the Birthday Concert, Blue Note CD CDP 93155 2, 1998
Here is another winner, recorded live at the Village Vanguard on Flanagan's
sixty-seventh birthday. Seventy minutes of invention from a master.
What a treasure Flanagan has become!