This is the second recording effort by a trio led by a young player who certainly would seem to have full command of his instrument, a warm sound and a fluent touch, and who, in his mid-thirties, has developed a readily identifiable personal approach to his instrument.
Antibes confirms the positive first impression made by Greg Reitan's 2008 debut, Some Other Time. Reitan is a pianist with taste and a clear sense of purpose. He strives for "elegance and gracefulness." The world needs more of both.
Antibes is, very loosely, a concept album that began with a book of black-and-white images of the French Riviera by Italian photographer Bruno Stefani. The photographs inspired Reitan to compose and record the title track, and then to plan the rest of the album "around its spirit and mood." "Antibes" is an intriguing piece in which Reitan's fondness for Glenn Gould and Gould's fondness for Bach are audible in a recurrent left-hand motivic figure, from which Reitan the jazz improviser streams ideas outward.
The other 11 pieces include older Reitan originals ("Waltz for Meredith," "One Step Ahead"), new ones ("Late Summer Variations," "Salina") and several standards. They vary in tempo and structure and embody distinct occasions in time. "Late Summer Variations" is a luminous little solo etude, emblematic of the particular sunny afternoon when it was recorded. "Salinas" is about its own moment, a fast drive on California Route 101.
The standards are quietly intense. "For Heaven's Sake" is rapt and very slow. Reitan gives them all a necessary place within the evolution of the album's complex, unified "spirit and mood," and gives them all the Reitan touch, which means they sound centered and poised. With halting pensiveness, "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" closes the album's arc, starting and stopping like a hymn. Bassist Jack Daro and drummer Dean Koba have played with Reitan for years and sound like it. Daro takes spare, poetic solos that are elaborations of Reitan's aesthetic.
- Thomas Conrad --JazzTimes, Mar. 2010