There doesn’t seem to be an official explanation why it took nine years for this epic trio concert by legendary pianist Roger Kellaway, Bruce Forman (guitar) and Dan Lutz (bass) at The Jazz Bakery in L.A. to become an official album release. One thing’s for sure though.
The playful title “The Many Open Minds of Roger Kellaway” captures the buoyant, alternately coolly and hard swinging energy of the wildly improvisational seven pieces as well as the legendary pianist’s blissfully all over the map career as an artist, arranger and musical director. With a resume that includes, 29 film scores and work with Yo-Yo Ma, Sonny Rollins, Ben Webster, Bobby Darin, Van Morrison, Elvis Presley and Van Morrison, adventure’s been a driving force in his musical DNA for decades.
At first glance, the set list looks like typical Songbook (Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter) and jazz standards fare (“Take Five,” “Take the ‘A’ Train,”) - yet in the trio’s nimble, rollercoastering hands, they’re transformed into grand gestures of wild abandon, starting with the frenetically swirling piano and bass dance/romp through Monk’s “52nd Street Theme” and the multi-moodswings of Sonny Rollins’ “Doxy,” which sandwiches a plucky bass and guitar duet with Kellaway’s dramatic, ivory pounding opening solo and his later, spirited but comparatively more restrained improvisational swing.
Released to coincide with Kellaway’s 80th birthday, this stylistically expansive collection celebrates three masters at their best while opening our minds to new ways to tackle songs we thought we knew well.