The NYC Jazz Record
By Ken Dryden
For jazz fans not residing near New York City, there will always be musicians who have been active locally for decades yet fly under the radar due to limited touring. One such player is pianist David Janeway, a professional for over four decades though, like Denny Zeitlin, also a full-time psychiatrist. In addition to forming the Hastings Jazz Collective with Harvie S, Tim Armacost and others, Janeway has recorded a number of CDs for his own label, so that may explain why this CD is on SteepleChase LookOut, a sub-label normally for up-and-coming artists. He recruited two seasoned veterans for the session, bassist Cameron Brown and drummer Billy Hart, with whom he has performed over the years, and the setlist has a wealth of treasures, including rarely recorded jazz works, jazz standards and the pianist’s strong originals. Hank Jones’ demanding bop theme “Minor Contention” showcases the potent interplay of the trio and the pianist’s formidable chops. Mercer Ellington’s “Blue Serge” dates from the ‘40s and although his famous father performed it, the piece fell into unjust obscurity. Janeway’s bittersweet introduction gives way to an upbeat, lyrical setting that simmers rather than catches fire, with a creative bassline and skilled brushwork adding valuable seasoning to the leader’s eloquent solo. Gary Peacock’s “Gardenia” is a natural fit for Brown’s inventive soloing, as he is also a master worthy of comparison to the late composer. Brown sets the mood for Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti” with an exotic solo before Janeway makes a surprising shift to electric piano and the trio offers a delicate, moving setting of Walter Bishop, Jr.’s “Waltz For Zweetie”. Janeway’s compositions include the bouncing “One For Cedar” and constantly shifting “Excursion”, both of which sound like jazz standards in the hands of this trio.