With his stylistic versatility, dark lyricism, and aggressive imagination, trumpeter Phil Grenadier can do just about anything (one of his gigs is in the Jerry Bergonzi band every Monday night at the Lily Pad in Cambridge). The title and all-standards program of his new CD — as well as the black-and-white cover portrait — suggest a laid-back mainstream session. But Grenadier has given himself a spare setting — just his trumpet along with bassist Will Slater and drummer Karen Kocharyan — and the emphasis here is on spontaneous exploration. The scope of the arrangements extends from a fairly straight treatment of “In a Sentimental Mood” (the melody lovingly caressed by Grenadier’s vibrato) to a left-field twist on “Yesterdays”: The melancholy Jerome Kern chestnut is bookended with extended quotes from Edgar Winter's funk-rock classic “Frankenstein.” That’s the most extreme move here; mostly the trio wants to see how far it can go with these songs while remaining true to their essence. Even when the furious tempo of “I Hear a Rhapsody” brings the musicians to a trilling, unresolved coda, they’re still playing the tune — it’s just taken them someplace new and unexpected.
Essential “I Hear a
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