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Jonathan Gee's New York Trio, Jazz Bar, Edinburgh

You get more than an individual take on the jazz piano trio tradition with Jonathan Gee.

The Chinese origins of tiramisu, brought to Italy by Marco Polo as Cream of Mandarins, according to our guide; the escape from the Spanish Armada of the tortadilla, a cross between a tortoise and an armadillo, which Gee offered for sale but strangely found no takers here; and the humble yellow ball's unfairly maligned status in snooker all find their way into Gee's music and entertaining between-song chat.

Other, more conventional angles are explored, too, as Gee and his colleagues – one, drummer Gene Calderazzo, a native New Yorker long based in London; the other, bassist Joseph Lepore over from the Big Apple specially for this tour – swing mightily through a clutch of Thelonious Monk tunes and take a far from sleepy approach to the seemingly ageless standard Lullaby of Birdland.

Gee is a fine pianist with a strong melodic sensibility and an appealingly varied attack on solos, sometimes letting them build with simple but steely, gradually altered phrases or, as in another case, letting loose a splashing, very effective two-handed pattern of superimposed arpeggios before alighting on a very determined groove.

If the group occasionally appeared to be progressing down three independent paths and threatened to become becalmed on Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta's otherwise lovely Antonio Carlos Jobim tribute, From Ton to Tom, their ability to swing as one on intricate passages and riffs such as Gee's own Starfish and Ron Carter's rather oddly structured RJ and the unison playing between Gee and Lepore on Gee's demanding Dragonfly provided generous compensation.


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