Today's masterly top piano trio choice, a very slow paced solo piano line from Kevin Hays begins the expansive 'For Heaven's Sake' the fourth of the seven tracks of the upcoming Paul Stache and Damon Smith produced All Things Are 4 June release. You scarcely notice, but then realise the sheer craft of the complete sound, when Ben Street and Billy Hart enter. Hart's cymbal sound has a rugged, alive quality while Hays' approach is very much to develop and ease his improvisation along as he circles in and out of the main overriding theme as he moves into open space. It's beautiful, Street's role developing to leave footprints in the sand. Recorded in December at Harlem jazz club Smoke the recording marked Mwandishi legend Billy Hart's 80th birthday. Most of the pieces on the album are Hays originals and there is an emphasis within on contrafacts (eg different melodies to chord changes of standards within the building blocks of the brand new composition) so you know because it is often so difficult to properly accomplish the heights that the process is hitting just for starters. On Smoke Sessions.
Inspiring: I'm going straight to Trio 64, pianist Bill Evans with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Paul Motian so that the spell so appropriate is maintained. And it is. But that's not all, Hays has also recorded the piece in an earlier trio with Doug Weiss and Bill Stewart, the album also called For Heaven's Sake that time with the double bass of Weiss leading off the Don Meyer/Elise Bretton/Sherman Edwards piece (Jazz Eyes, 2005). The new version is fascinating and very different in shape and mood, at times quite intense in its emotional definition. You might even again journey to the dreamy late-1940s Claude Thornhill version with Fran Warren or choose the classic later Billie Holiday Lady in Satin treatment. Ben Street top left, Kevin Hays, Billy Hart. Photo via Smoke Sessions