All too often, piano trios feature the pianist extensively, with bassist and drummer relegated to supporting roles and occasional brief solos. That’s hardly the case with this studio session, as even though the trio is billed under the names of David Hazeltine and George Mraz, with Billy Drummond, the date comes off like a working partnership with everyone getting lots of space to play. Hazeltine has been a workhorse in New York City, recording a number of CDs for various labels and frequently appearing as a sideman, while Mraz is one of the top bassists to emerge during the late ’60s. Likewise, Drummond has himself been a very in-demand player. The interaction between the musicians is superb throughout the date, with fresh treatments of chestnuts like “Out of This World” and “Alone Together” that swing like mad. Drummond sticks to brushes for most of the session, except for Hazeltine’s easygoing samba “Don’t Walk Away” and a portion of the driving take of “Everything I Love.” One of the Chesky label’s hybrid SuperAudio CDs made with a single-point microphone, the sound could not be more natural, unless one attended the actual session in person. Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden
- Hazeltine-Mraz Trio: George Mraz (double bass); David Hazeltine, Billy Drummond
- Personnel: David Hazeltine (piano); Billy Drummond (drums).
- Producer: David Chesky; Charles Carlini
- Engineer: Rick Eckerle; Nicholas Prout
- Arrangers: David Hazeltine; George Mraz
- Liner Note Author: Bill Milkowski
Recording information: St. Peter’s Church, New York, NY (12/22/2005).