February 06, 2007
Jazz, Piano Jazz, Jazz Instrument

Album Review

Harold Danko is a perfect example of a veteran musician who might not be recognized by the average jazz listener but who is composing interesting originals and finding new approaches to others' songs. With frequent collaborators Michael Formanek on bass and Jeff Hirschfield on drums, Danko's trio session kicks off with a stunning interpretation of Bill Evans' infrequently played "Time Remembered," retaining its melancholy flavor while putting his own distinctive stamp upon it. He also explores two gems by Thad Jones, neither of which is recorded very often. "It Only Happens Every Time" is a lush ballad punctuated by Danko's strumming of the strings at the conclusion; "To You" is an equally lyrical performance, with Formanek's thoughtful bassline and Hirschfield's superb brushwork providing the perfect complement to the leader's touching interpretation. The influence of Danko's former teacher Jaki Byard comes through in his playful take of Thelonious Monk's "Bye-Ya," with campy off-center lines, a bit of string strumming, and a playful spirit present in both Byard and Monk. The pianist's compositions are just as rewarding. "Unknowable Caper #1" and "Unknowable Caper #2" began life as exercises for Danko's students at Eastman, while "Astral Intrusion" has the spirit of free improvisation, though all three works are inspired in part by standards left for the listener to discover. Finally, Danko's exploration of two standards, "All or Nothing at All" and "How Deep Is the Ocean," prove to be anything but predictable in his hands. This is yet another fine example of modern post-bop piano by the gifted Harold Danko.
Ken Dryden, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Time Remembered
  2. All or Nothing at All
  3. How Deep Is the Ocean
  4. It Only Happens Every Time
  5. Madison and West End
  6. Unknowable Caper #1
  7. Astral Intrusion
  8. Unknowable Caper #2
  9. Sum of Some
  10. To You
  11. Bye-Ya
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