Rob Barron – From This Moment On
(Ubuntu UBU0064. Review by Adam Sieff)
I’ve always admired pianist Rob Barron for his musicality and professionalism in all his guises as a performer, accompanist, collaborator, band member and session player. But it’s his trio playing I’ve probably enjoyed the most, especially watching him onstage at Ronnie’s where he always sets just the right tone for the venue and the occasion.
From This Moment On is a classy piano trio recording, and like the artist, it is unpretentious, highly skilled and entertaining. It’s a natural progression from his previous release, 2016’s What’s In Store, a quartet recording with guitarist Colin Oxley as well as the rhythm section who are present again here, drummer Josh Morrison and double bassist Jeremy Brown. They appear to feel completely relaxed in each other’s company and give Barron’s piano the drive and sympathetic support that contributes to the positive feelings this music inspires, as illustrated by the optimistic narrative of the lyrics of the title song by Cole Porter: ‘From this happy day, No more blue songs….We’ll be riding high, Every care is gone…’ Musical balm in troubled times.
Eight of the ten selections are songbook standards and recognised piano trio repertoire. There’s Herman Hupfeld’s ‘As Time Goes By’, Jimmy Davis’ ‘Lover Man’, Oliver Nelson’s ‘Butch and Butch’, Johnny Mandel’s ‘A Time For Love’, Duke Ellington’s ‘In A Sentimental Mood’, Victor Young’s ‘My Foolish Heart and Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s ‘Pure Imagination’ (for all Willy Wonka fans), and the title track. Barron has the confidence as an arranger to put his own stamp on them, and considering the high benchmark previously set on these songs by pianists from Bill Evans to Keith Jarrett, he does a really good job, as his style is elegant, always swinging and respectful of the tune. His solos have plenty of drive and harmony, and Brown and Morrison take their spotlight moments well. The two original compositions, a reflective ’Fortune Green’ (the sound of West Hampstead?) and the lightning fast ‘Evidently’ sit well among the other tracks and are just as enjoyable.
There’s plenty of room for sophisticated music like this and artists who can make it live in the present. If this album is an accurate representation of where Rob Barron is today, then it’s a fine place to be.
Mix a martini, hit the play button and live a little.
From This Moment On is released on 2 October