Phil DeGreg Trio | Down The Middle

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Jazz: Piano Jazz Jazz: Bebop Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Down The Middle

by Phil DeGreg Trio

A straight ahead swinging jazz piano trio-upbeat and optimistic.
Genre: Jazz: Piano Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Con Alma
5:38 $0.99
2. Pick Yourself Up
4:31 $0.99
3. Blues On The Spot
4:52 $0.99
4. Urgency
5:30 $0.99
5. Bonita
5:58 $0.99
6. Down The Middle
4:19 $0.99
7. The Inside Track
4:31 $0.99
8. Palindrome
3:49 $0.99
9. I Concentrate On You
7:10 $0.99
10. Wail
3:44 $0.99
11. So In Love
5:15 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“The first three adjectives that come to mind when I listen to Phil’s playing are “sparkling,” “flawless,” and “swinging.” On his new CD “Down The Middle,” I love the way he respects the tradition, as on Dizzy’s “Con Alma,” while unafraid to expand the horizons of that tradition.”
-Mark Levine, grammy nominated pianist

"On this beautifully balanced mixture of the jazz, Brazilian/Latin language, each tune has a concept and personality of it's own. Phil's playing is simply magnificent, and his swinging, refreshing lines and harmonies are a joy throughout."
-Gene Bertoncini, internationally renowned guitarist

“It's everything a trio lover could want in the genre: It swings, it's elegant, it's both improv and traditional..DeGreg is at the top of his piano game - fluid, lyrical, experimental and "down the middle.”
-Rick Bird, Cincinnati Post

“An upbeat and creative album, this is music that views life through a rose-colored lens. Clarity and lyricism are hallmarks of DeGreg's playing… The 11 tracks, including four of DeGreg's own compositions, are sophisticated, intelligent and ultimately irresistible."
-Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer

From the liner notes:

This is pianist Phil DeGreg’s 10th recording as a leader. Each is a bit different, but one constant remains: Phil’s playing is always inspired, definitive, and very accessible to the listener. “Down The Middle” is no exception. You are about to hear a classic piano jazz trio; Phil, Tom, and Joe approach each tune respectfully, and improvise with great taste and delightful energy.

Phil is currently professor of jazz studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and is the published author of “Jazz Keyboard Harmony”, a popular jazz textbook in use around the world. For the last thirteen years, he has been the house pianist and music director at the Blue Wisp, Cincinnati’s premier jazz club, where he has accompanied countless touring jazz artists. As a radio jazz host, it has been my pleasure to proudly play Phil’s recordings as a leader and sideman for my listeners in the Greater Cincinnati area. He is a wonderfully gifted and modest human being, as well as a great musician.

Bassist Tom Warrington is much sought after in a variety of musical venues in Los Angeles, from jazz gigs to movie and TV recording sessions. He is a consummate musician, who employs a light touch and an arsenal of harmonic understanding reminiscent of the late Scott Lafaro. Drummer Joe LaBarbera is probably best known for his work with the last Bill Evans Trio and a long stint with singer Tony Bennett. As you will hear, Joe’s sparkle and punctuations tie the ribbon that makes this session so enjoyable for the listener.

Some notes on the tracks:

The set starts with Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma”. If Diz were alive, he would smile and nod approvingly at the trio’s rendering of this classic. On Jerome Kern’s “Pick Yourself Up”, the trio swings with the greatest of ease. Phil’s “ Blues on the Spot,” (not to be confused with the Herb Ellis tune of the same title) finds a strong pocket, while stretching the boundaries of the I-IV-V progression. This is followed by another of Phil’s originals, “Urgency”, the most percussive piece of the recording which provides an appropriate vehicle for Joe. On the next track, Phil personalizes a seldom recorded Jobim classic called “Bonita.” Phil has had a long term fascination with Brazilian music (check out his CD “Brasilia”). The tasty bass solo by Tom caps this reading of a gorgeous melody.

Two more originals follow. The title track “Down The Middle” is hardly the summation of mainstream jazz that the title might suggest. There are some tricky time changes in this one. Write a lyric to this melody and set yourself free. On “The Inside Track” the trio extends its imagination and creativity on the harmony of Phil’s basic four chord progression. It is perhaps the litmus test of this session. By recording “Palindrome” by saxophonist Jimmy McGary, Phil pays homage to Cincinnati’s favorite late Irish tenor. On this one, everyone gets a ride.

Cole Porter wrote beautiful melodies, and “I Concentrate on You” is no exception. This beautiful interpretation by Phil and company explores all the nooks and crannies of this chestnut. Then comes “Wail” by Bud Powell: wind up your bebop chops, put the pedal to the metal, and cook. Isn’t that what this tune is all about? The trio gets right to the point and stamps this one “immediate delivery.” All good things must come to an end, and the trio concludes this session with “So in Love”, another impeccable rendering of a Porter melody. Played tastefully and with respect, it tugs at your heart and creates a delightful and slightly mysterious exit.

Sit back and enjoy!

Bob Nave
Jazz Host WMKV-FM, Cincinnati
January, 2007



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