DAVID Berkman's return to Edinburgh on Wednesday brought a welcome reminder of this New York-based pianist's powers as a player, composer and interpreter.

Back in the days of the Scottish Arts Council, when financial support was available to promoters of such endeavours, Berkman was a relatively frequent visitor to Scotland in general and edinburgh in particular, working with local musicians as well as fellow Americans and making no secret of his admiration for the talent on our doorstep.

Here under his own steam and working with his splendid current touring rhythm team of Martin Zenker (bass) and Rick Hollander (drums) for the door takings, he immediately illustrated his ability to fashion fresh statements from a solid grounding in the jazz tradition and develop spontaneous ideas into sustained and deeply satisfying musical progressions.

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Berkman's choice of material is always imaginative and even familiar standards are refreshed in unpredictable ways: his reconstruction of Just in Time was a model of swift-paced disguise and at the other end of the tempo spectrum, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, became a delicious, keenly dramatic, snail's paced ballad.

Zenker and Hollander lent backbone, shade and impetus, if occasionally with just a mite too much prominence in the latter's case, and generally enhanced Berkman's creative flow, be it on the meditative dedication to trumpeter Tom Harrell, or For Kenny, a beautiful homage to the late pianist Kenny Kirkland on which Berkman managed the not inconsiderable feat of simultaneously being profoundly thoughtful while maintaining a magnificently grooving momentum.

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