Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kobayashi's Latest Sets The Standard

Ron Kobayashi Trio
Of Standards, Be-Bop and Swing
Carpet Cat Records

5 heaping tablespoons of Bosco
(Out of 5)

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

Ron Kobayashi, the hardest working man in Jazz, has always impressed with his original straight ahead jazz and fusion. And he always trys to put a different spin on each album. In the last album No Preservatives, for instance, he recorded the entire album without dubbing or editing. What you hear is exactly what his partners drummer Steve Dixon and bassist Baba Elefante put down.

In the latest, Of Standards, Be-Bop and Swing, the Ron Kobayashi Trio delivers their takes on the Standards from the jazz era of the 1940's and 1950's. The result is one of the best albums of classic Be-Bop and Swing that you are ever going to hear.

Sometimes one really doesn't truly appreciate an artist until they tackle the known standards. This is the case here. Kobayashi, who has given us a large library of excellent original music, really shines along with Elefante and Dixon here with other's material.

Right from track one, in the Kobayashi arrangement of Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train", you realize this isn't going to be your garden-variety jazz standards album.

Of Standards, Be-Bop and Swing was a request by Kobayashi's father and mother, long-time Southern California residents and jazz lovers Roy and Irene Kobayashi. It was Ron's father Roy that suggested the lineup on this album which includes the Rodgers-Hammerstein tunes "Younger Than Springtime" and "All the Things You Are", Cole Porter's "Night and Day", "Over the Rainbow", Charlie Parker's "Anthropology", the Heusen-Burke composition "Imagination", Neal Hefti's "Cute", "I'll Remember April", "Taking a Chance on Love" and Gerry Mulligan's "Elevation".

Joining the trio, who has now been together for sixteen years...(seems like only yesterday when we were watching and listening to them at the old Melody Inn in North Orange County), is longtime vocal collaborator and wonderful vocalist Debbi Ebert as well as the respected jazz sax and flautist Ernie Del Fante.

The Ron Kobayashi Trio can be seen the first Tuesday of every month at Steamers Jazz Club and Cafe in Fullerton, CA. He is currently working on putting together a collaboration with legendary jazz cellist Fred Katz.

Pick up the album through

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