When you say he's got it all, you've said it all. That is the most concise summation of the genius of pianist Benny Green, whose trio opened at Catalina's on Tuesday.
Listening to him now, you understand why Oscar Peterson invited him to Toronto last year to share with him the prestigious Glenn Gould Foundation Award. It's not just his technique, though his ad lib parallel octave lines in "Ain't She Sweet" almost defied belief; it's also his gentle lyricism, as in an old Billy Eckstine song, "I Want to Talk About You."
At times his speed is dazzling; one unaccompanied solo swung no less vibrantly than the trio passages. Part of his current success, though, is because of the superb collective personality of his group.
Christian McBride, who was not quite out of his teens when he first played with Green two years ago, works in tight cohesion with him on the arranged passages, as does the drummer Kenny Washington, who is equally effective whether backing Green with brushes and sticks or soloing, as he did on one number, with mallets.