Pete Malinverni Trio with Karrin Allyson, Steve Wilson and Jon Faddis, "Heaven" (Saranac)
It's hard not to love a trio jazz pianist who plays two – count 'em, two – compositions from Duke Ellington in a spiritual mode: the title tune of this disc and the much-venerated Ellington "spiritual" "Come Sunday," on which he is joined by the great Dizzy-derived trumpet player Jon Faddis.
The whole disc is Malinverni underlining musically "the notion that even this vale of tears is tinged with the essence of the transcendent, of the beautiful and the true."
On top of Malinverni's rewarding taste, he also gets contributions on this trio disc from singer Karrin Allyson (a wonderful version of "Shenandoah"); alto saxophonist Steve Wilson (on the traditional spiritual "Wade in the Water"); as well as Faddis. Malinverni grew up playing in church he tells us, so why not make a record that takes religious music from spirituals and Ellington and Jewish Tradition and even Curtis Mayfield's "People, Get Ready." Allyson is the piece de resistance, however. It helps to have such friends.
3 stars (out of four)