Apr 24, 2021
Sometimes the must exciting jazz recordings come from coincidence. Trio, the recent release on the new Le Coq Records imprint, is one of those coincidences.
Veteran pianist Bill Cunliffe has been acting as something of a house arranger and musical director for many of the newly launched imprint’s projects, and when he and the highly sought-after bassist John Patitucci and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta found themselves with a few extra hours of studio time after working on an Andy James vocal session, label founder/producer Piero Pata urged them to record a set of standards off the cuff, sans music or lead sheets.
Trio is a piano trio album for those who like their music swinging, with sharp interplay and crisp renditions of tunes with strong melody. Most of the tracks were recorded in one take, with all three musicians taking their turns to shine.
A graduate of Duke University, where he studied with the legendary Mary Lou Williams, he launched his career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band. Since then, Cunliffe has worked with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and James Moody, while establishing himself as a solo artist and bandleader with more than a dozen albums under his name. He won a Grammy award in 2010 for his arrangement of Oscar Peterson 's "West Side Story Medley." Bill currently is a Professor of Music at Cal State-Fullerton School of Music.
Podcast 812 is the first of my two-part conversation with Bill Cunliffe. In Part One, we talk about the Le Coq label and his Trio album. Part Two, later this week, will allow us to hear some of Bill’s stories of working with Buddy Rich, and of studying with Mary Lou Williams. Musical selections from Trio include “We Three" and the ballad "Laura." plus there is a track from Andy James' debut CD for Le Coq, Tu Amor., "Night and Day."