Roger Kellaway Trio
New Jazz Standards, Vol. 3
Trumpeter Carl Saunders has worked with big names in music – really big names! -Sinatra…Ella…Paul Anka, Budy Rich, Stan Kenton…he’s been a bandleader, arranger and composer. And a great guy to have on the bench. But he’ll be known to the next generation for his tunes – a big bag of “New Standards”. We’re talking samba and balladry, fast-cookin’, big-swingin’ toe-tappers. This guy writes a tune! Stately, graceful, gorgeous. They waft and drift. They stay written. That’s for sure.
Volume one of his New Jazz Standards was not by Roger Kellaway, it was in fact an album released by flautist Sam Most; his final album in fact. That 2014 set was followed in 2016 with Volume 2 – and enter a new name, the trombonist Scott Whitfield. Now, another two years on, it’s time for another volume – pianist Roger Kellaway has the honour and does the honours…
I don’t know volumes one and two but I’ll be going back to them after hearing this.
Kellaway is a journeyman-great and brings with him bassist Jay Leonhart and master drummer Peter Erskine. They’re a buoyant, lithe and tasteful rhythm section, allowing Kellaway to dance lightly at times (Noodlin’) and riding with him as he bolts out of the gate on the opener, Prudence.
There’s no shortage of loveliness here from the deep balladry of Valtzing to post-bop funkiness (Hurry Up & Wait).
You’d listen to Leonhart and Erskine backing anyone and anything but Kellaway has a magical touch and everything here is perfectly in place but not in such a way as you can’t take your shoes off and relax, not in such a way as to not have the shirt sleeves rolled up or the tie loosened once the photo’s been taken.
From the gallop of Minor Infraction – where Erskine dances down the spine of the tune and Leonhart lopes along deep inside the groove – to the closing tranquillity of Forever Again this is jazz for the heart and the head, jazz that comes from (and speaks to) a place deep in the soul. Exquisite and timeless.