02 JAN 13 CHRIS SLAWECKI
Pianist, arranger and conductor Alan Broadbent grew up in New Zealand, studied at Berklee, and has since worked with employers and collaborators such as Woody Herman, Chet Baker, Marian McPartland, Nelson Riddle and Scott Hamilton. Pacific Standard Time (Concord Jazz, 1995) spotlights Broadbent as head of a trio with bassist Putter Smith and drummer Frank Gibson, and as musical tour guide through several major jazz piano mileposts.
The opening "Summer Night" lets you immediately hear how and why Broadbent's style is so often compared to Bill Evans'; it also sings not only of Vince Guaraldi but of Guaraldi's debt to Evans. "I Should Care" seems to shimmer with soft, bright reflections of George Shearing. Piano and drums trade fours to energize the complex but friendly "The One's For Bud," Broadbent's homage to legendary bebop conceptualist Bud Powell.
He treasures and measures each note of his solo introduction to "Django" then continues through one of the most inventive takes on John Lewis' reverential tribute you'll ever hear, full of dramatic time and tempo changes -- even some good ol' country piano -- before closing in thick, swirling chords.
Bill Evans fans searching for something new should explore Broadbent's Concord catalog, which also includes Crystal Comments (Concord Jazz, 1980) in tandem with Bud Shank and Bill Mays, Live-Lee (Milestone, 2003) and More Live-Lee (Milestone, 2004) with saxophonist Lee Konitz, and the almost entirely self-composed Personal Standards (Concord Jazz, 1997). Broadbent also serves as pianist on Midnight (Concord Jazz, 2003) and other Diane Schuur releases.