I have fond memories of seeing pianist Lee Shaw many times when I was living in upstate New York, so I was excited to see that she was still playing well and releasing two albums this year, this one from a German jazz festival and another from Albany with her one time student John Medeski. On this album she is joined by her long-time trio mates, Rich Syracuse on bass and Jeff Siegel on drums, and two alternating saxophonists, Johannes Enders on tenor and Michael Lutzeier on baritone. Lee Shaw has an encyclopedic knowledge of popular and jazz standards, leads the album off with “Falling in Love Again” taken at an easy medium tempo swing. The trio shows the deep empathic knowledge of a group that has been playing together for years, and Enders’ deep subtle baritone blends in well. The fast paced “Music 4 Food” is a Lutzeier original with a complex improvisation that demonstrates the group’s facility at high speed. The classic standard “Body and Soul” gets a lustrous reading with beautiful breathy saxophone and wonderful piano accompaniment. Ballads are played well, with “Tears” a long, haunting piece for the full band, and “Lonely Town” This was a wonderfully swinging mainstream jazz disc, incorporating the jazz DNA of bop, ballads and swing in equal portions. Lee Shaw is a great treasure and this album is a joy to hear.
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