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The David Hazeltine Trio – Impromptu {Binaural+} (2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

The David Hazeltine Trio – Impromptu {Binaural+} (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 52:46 minutes | 2,13 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: | Digital booklet | © Chesky Records

Recorded with the Chesky Records Binaural style fit for both speakers and headphones, it captures the sound of the musicians playing in great acoustic settings. And now, starting with the Binaural+ sessions, Chesky Records has taken that approach to the next level. The David Hazeltine Trio successfully undertakes well-known classical works and reinvents them through jazz. Joined by George Mraz on bass and Jason Brown on drums, Hazeltine is able to reformat these classics into high energy, sweet swinging, syncopated adaptations of their originals. The group tackles works by composers: Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven; restructuring their works all the while keeping them audibly recognizable.

Impromptu is the name of a new release on Chesky Records featuring pianist David Hazeltine playing in a trio whose other members are veteran bassist George Mrasz and young drummer Jason Brown. Each of the eight tracks is intended to be a jazzy take on a popular representative from the classical genre. The oldest composer in the set is Johann Sebastian Bach, represented by his “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” chorale prelude from his BWV 147 cantata, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben. The most recent composer is Claude Debussy with two piano compositions, the “Clair de lune” movement from his Suite bergamasque, and “Rêverie.” Between these extremes there are two samples from Ludwig van Beethoven (the opening movement of the “Moonlight” sonata and “Für Elise”), Frédéric Chopin (the E minor prelude from Opus 28 and the posthumous “Fantasie-Impromptu” in C-sharp minor), and the “Waltz of the Flowers” from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet. Those who wish to follow this tracks closely should be warned that the labels for the Chopin “Fantasie-Impromptu” and the “Moonlight” sonata are switched.

The result is neither fish nor fowl. On the classical side it tries to reduce “favorite standards” to little more than “familiar tunes.” On the jazz side it takes those tunes, swings the rhythm a bit, but never manages to get beyond noodling around improvisations that could fit in with just about any other tune. What remains is little more than “easy listening” tarted up to con the listener into thinking that these are jazz takes on the music of great composers. They aren’t. They might make for pleasant background music in a piano lounge, but anyone interested in serious listening to some inventive jazz jamming will probably come away disappointed.

01 – Clair de Lune
02 – Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring
03 – Fantasie, Impromptu No. 4
04 – Moonlight Sonata
05 – Waltz of the Flowers
06 – Opus 28, No. 4 in E minor, Prelude
07 – Reverie
08 – Fur Elise

David Hazeltine – piano
George Mraz – bass
Jason Brown – drums


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