Bill Mays The Inventions Trio | Fantasy – [Palmetto Records, 2007]
The list of recording artists who have successfully rendered both jazz and classical idioms is short, but remarkable. Some that come to mind are Eddie Daniels (clarinet), Bill Watrous (trombone), Wynton Marsalis (trumpet), and Holly Hofmann (flute). Add to that list two more names: Bill Mays (piano) and Marvin Stamm (trumpet & flugelhorn). Joined on five of the nine tracks by the talented Alisa Horn on cello, they have given us an album that is hard to categorize. I puzzled over which iPod playlists to sort the tunes into – jazz? classical? easy listening?
The material is an ear-catching mix of jazz standards (“Baubles, Bangles, & Beads,” Charlie Parker’s “Ah-Leu-Cha“); adaptations of themes from Bach, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and Gershwin; and Mays’ composition “Fantasy for Cello, Trumpet, and Piano” in three movements. All are executed with classical precision and contemporary feeling. I reacted with joy when I heard how cleverly Mays and Stamm merged Bach’s Two-Part Invention with Parker’s “Ah-Leu-Cha.” Suffice it to say that if you have any interest at all in the intermingling of jazz and classical, you’ve got to hear this. —James A. Vedda
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