Album Review: Sunday at Pilars from Chris Rottmayer
Album: Sunday at Pilars
Artist: Chris Rottmayer
Pianist/songwriter Chris Rottmayer’s studio recording, Sunday at Pilars celebrates the atmosphere that his quartet created during their Sunday gigs at Pilars Martini in Winter Garden, Florida. Rottmayer’s quartet performed at the club regularly on Sunday afternoons between 2015 and 2018. Performing a handful of American Popular Songbook tunes, jazz standards, and originals by Rottmayer, the band plays in a straight-ahead jazz fashion with sprigs of improvised excursions scattered throughout the tracks. The music is conducive to dining club settings, adorned in classic jazz trimmings.
Rottmayer’s original number “Trocadero” is coated in a smooth jazz film as his keys imprint whimsical flickers while drummer Walt Hubbard and bassist Charlie Silva stoke a torchlight shimmer. Track after track threads into one another like a seamless story, traveling from the bopping beats of Ray Noble’s signature piece “Cherokee,” which provide a platform for Rottmayer’s perky scrolls on the keys, and transition into the bluesy swagger of his keys trotting jubilantly across “Break Blues for PIlar,” another original number penned by Rottmayer.
Jack Wilkins on tenor saxophone maps out zesty squiggles along “Meteor,” sprouting and flowering with a spontaneity that draws the listener into the exuberance. The buoyant ripples of Rottmayer’s keys sauntering across “Weaver of Dreams” give the rhythmic swells a swing jazz glaze that adjust to a lulling rustle through “Skylark.” Wilkins again adds bouncing wisps through “Mamacita,” puffing and tooting with unbridled exuberance.
Chris Rottmayer pilots straight-ahead jazz style jaunts. Each track invites audiences to join the ride, demanding nothing more from them than to lay back and fill up on the jovial wanderings and off-the-cuff raptures that Rottmayer’s quartet has charted along the recording.
Chris Rottmayer – piano
Walt Hubbard – drums
Charlie Silva – bass
Jack Wilkins – tenor saxophone