3. The Crucible
4. My Foolish Heart
7. The Jigsaw
Mark Donlon - Piano
Mick Hutton - Bass
Gene Calderazzo - Drums
Julian Siegel - Tenor sax (tracks 1, 3, 6)
Pianist Donlon spends much of his time in jazz education so it is a rare treat to hear his considerable keyboard skills on CD. There are no liner notes with this CD so I am unable to throw any light on the significance of the chosen title, an original by Donlon, but the track itself has a distinct Latin-American influence - not surprisingly as Donlon plays with Roberto Pla. Julian Siegel joins the trio and bubbles away contentedly in the higher register.
There are four other originals including The Crucible on which there is a Donlon solo typically full of cascades and trills as well as the haunting Saraband, a deceptively simple modal piece with echoes of Bill Evans.
The two non-originals are outstanding exercises in imaginative improvisation: the evergreen My Foolish Heart is clearly a Donlon favourite and features reflective solos by the pianist and bassist Hutton, and Kenny Wheeler's The Jigsaw is also given a long, ruminative workout.
My only reservation about this CD is that Calderazzo, a busy drummer at the best of times, occasionally overdoes his fondness for rimshots. Having said that, he is beautifully calm and unobtrusive on My Foolish Heart and Saraband, my favourite tracks on a largely very satisfying recording.