Central Park West, the Brentwood bar and grill where good sounds are on tap Thursday through Sundays, confines its presentations to duos and trios. How much can be accomplished within these limitations was well defined Sunday when pianist Alan Broadbent appeared with alto saxophonist Gary Foster.
Clearly this instrumentation could have benefited from the addition of a bass player, yet the two men seemed remarkably self-sufficient. Broadbent often supplied the equivalent of a bass part with his left hand, though at times he would burst into rich two-handed chording.
Both men were clearly influenced by Lennie Tristano, a composer and pianist prominent in the 1950s. Broadbent studied with him not long after arriving in the United States from New Zealand; Foster's style is strongly reminiscent of Lee Konitz, Tristano's long time alto sax partner.
Two Tristano pieces, based on the chords of "All the Things You Are" and "Pennies From Heaven" were among the duos most effective performances as they played the tricky lines in unison. Two compositions by Tadd Damerom, "If You Could See Me Now" and "Hot House," also worked well.
Broadbent's exceptional blend of creative finesse and technical prowess were well displayed in two of his own tunes, "Another Time" and "Don't Ask Why." Another highlight was"Sweet and Lovely" in which his right hand delved into blues-like chords while the left maintained a walking bass pattern.