Chris Keefe, Opening Review
By Sylvannia Garutch
Opening is pianist Chris Keefe’s debut recording as a leader. Keefe uses three originals and four standards to introduce himself to jazz fans and his own unique piano sound. Opening features bassist Harvie S and drummer Adam Nussbaum, both of whom complement Keefe’s piano style entirely. Keefe has a classic modern sound and driving rhythmic lines that swing with passion.
Keefe’s original “Got A Chick?” is our first hearing of the trio’s chemistry and Keefe’s composition skills. Obviously, the tune is inspired by the late great Chick Corea, and one can hear elements of Corea’s style sprinkled in Keefe’s playing. The time feel of the trio is excellent, as the swing is buoyant and flows naturally with a big pocket. Keefe’s piano solo is creative and graceful.
The trio’s interactive and powerful jazz message can be heard and appreciated on the relaxed swing standard, “Along Came Betty.” S and Nussbaum support Keefe’s ideas as he builds his solo with clear harmonic and melodic ideas through the standards changes. Each pass through the form yields more creative interaction between the three players. Keefe made a wise decision to include both originals and standards, allowing us to hear his musical ideas and get to know his perspective of the jazz lineage.
Opening is a delightful introduction to pianist Chris Keefe’s playing style and music. His understanding of the jazz language and his driving rhythm will undoubtedly inspire jazz fans. Keefe is highly melodic and presents a classic modern jazz sound with broad appeal.