Jazz pianist and composer Gary Motley teams with a group of stellar musicians to explore the many facets of swing on his newest recording, Everything I Love. Here Motley reunites with two of his long time associates, drummer Pete Siers and bassist Paul Keller. The three comprised the rhythm section for guitarist Russell Malone's 1994 CD, Black Butterfly. This project marks the first time the trio has played together since that time. In fact, most of the songs included on this recording are first takes and represent the first time that these musicians have played together in over ten years! It is obvious upon first listening that their chemistry and mutual musical respect has endured the passage of time.
The CD opens with PK's Tempo (an original composition penned by the bassist himself) on which Keller sets up a brisk walking line with the surety and clarity of Ray Brown. He is joined by Siers on drums, delivering a crisp, sparkling rhythmic drive that is reminiscent of Kenny Clarke. Together they provide a foundation over which Motley's fingers seem to dance effortlessly. The trio then explores several jazz standards including The Touch of Your Lips and Once I Loved. Motley is soon joined by vocalist Veronica Tate, whose treatment of Our Love Is Here To Stay helps to set the overall mood of the CD. She further complements the set with a new take on an old favorite, Poor Butterfly (popularized by Sarah Vaughan). Her performance is concluded with a swinging presentation of Rogers & Hart's I Could Write A Book. Tate is accompanied by bassist Neal Starkey and drummer Clay Hulet. Starkey provides a solid harmonic foundation for Tate's vocal work while Hulet's constant rhythmic variety provides un-erring support for both Tate and Motley as the entire ensemble playfully explores the rhythmic and harmonic possibilities of the tunes at hand.
While this album primarily consists of traditional jazz standards like The Nearness of You and Everything I Love, it also includes Motley's composition entitled A New Song and his unique arrangements of Thad Jones' Three And One and Little Drummer Boy. Everything I Love truly showcases Motley's talents as a hard-swinging bop master with a love for lyricism and as an accompanist with deep sensitivity.
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