With a Little Help From My Friends
Audio CD | Import
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That at the ripe young age of 40 pianist Renee Rosnes has her first compilation album comes as no surprise. Rosnes is a sophisticated, bop-centered interpreter of jazz standards and a refreshing stylist, a budding composer with a signature piano style. Featuring the numerous jazz stars she has recorded with since her 1988 eponymous Blue Note debut, With a Little Help gathers together older tracks with unreleased live and alternate tracks for a serious roundup of Rosnes. She creates lovely counterpoint with Joe Henderson on a bouncy, wide-open reading of "Summer Night," followed by "I've Got You Under My Skin." On Alec Wilder's serene "The Sounds Around the House," Rosnes plays a beautiful solo which is simple yet fully realized and performed. Joined by Chris Potter, she lays down mean Latin chops on "Upa Neguinho," which recalls a '50s cutting session. Dianne Reeves joins Renee for a twinkling "Lazy Afternoon," while Monk's "Bright Mississippi," with Branford Marsalis's bountiful blowing, is a hard-bop showcase for Rosnes's probing fingers and subtle piano commentary. Wayne Shorter's "Diana" and the original "Malaga Moon" are previously released tracks, but the laid-back trio title track, the DeJohnette-fired "Gargoyles," and the swinging ballad "So in Love" are brand-new. While newer tracks might tempt her longtime fans to pick up this disc, it is those earlier selections, with their varied guests and sprinklings of Rosnes's magic, that make this not only a good buy, but an outright steal. --Ken Micallef
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