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*** ERIC REED "Pure Imagination" Impulse!

March 01, 1998|Bill Kohlhaase

Eric Reed has an uncanny ability for recasting jazz and pop standards in unusual rhythmic formats. In addition, he's an especially rhythmic pianist. Those two skills combine to make this trio date, with bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Greg Hutchinson, Reed's most rewarding album to date. It begins with a clever, kaleidoscopic overture of the themes to follow, dissolves into a galloping "Maria" from "West Side Story," then jump-kicks its way through "Hello Young Lovers." Reed puts an up-tempo McCoy Tyner-like burn to the old shouter "42nd Street," does "Send In the Clowns" as a samba and puts a Latin chug to "I Got Rhythm." Gil Evans inspires the form of Gershwin's "My Man's Gone Now."

The pianist shows unexpected maturity and a certain fervor throughout. His excruciatingly patient chords on the original title tune build irresistible tension. Elsewhere, his intelligent right hand is matched by a left that leads like a dance partner. He knows just the right places to insert blues and gospel touches.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good), four stars (excellent).

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