|Kenny Drew Jr.|
Drew is a modernist whose classical chops are a strong element in his keyboard style. His take on the Peterson tribute, written last year on the piano giant's birthday, paid homage to Peterson's style but was more Kenny than Oscar.
Ellison drew on his full wind arsenal - alto, baritone, tenor and soprano saxes and two flutes - and sang as well on a couple of tunes. The highlights: the band's poignant take on John Lennon's anthemic "Imagine" and Ellison's baritone romp through Gerry Mulligan's classic "Bernie's Tune," as well as heart-felt renditions of Chuck Mangione's "Land of Make Believe" and Gerry Niewood's ballad "Joy."
Ellison, a Rochester NY native, has a natural affinity for Mangione music and also studied for two summers with Niewood, who was the Rochester-based flugelhorn player's saxophonist for many years.
Next up in the CCJS Artists Series: pianist Jim Roberts' Saxtet on November 11.