Wednesday, January 25, 2023

There is No Greater Love - Dado Moroni, Jesper Lundgaard and Lee Pearson

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

“[Billie] Holiday featured the composition at a Carnegie Hall concert, and over the next several years "There Is No Greater Love" occasionally appeared on bandstands and at studio sessions. But Miles Davis's recording of "There Is No Greater Love" from November 1955 and Sonny Rollins's version from his 1957 trio project Way Out West were more influential than any of these precedents in entrenching this piece in the set lists of modern jazz players.

The song is typically played at a relaxed medium tempo, but adapts easily to other pulses. The melody unfolds with a sense of pleasing inevitability — as is often the case with Isham Jones's compositions, which tend to avoid drama and surprising shifts, instead satisfying the ear with the natural, unaffected way the phrases connect to one another. This holistic quality to "There Is No Greater Love" also allows it to maintain its inner logic even when subjected to radical reworkings.”

- Ted Gioia - The Jazz Standards, A Guide to the Repertoire  [2012]

Every so often a new recording comes along that just unfolds in a rollicking, swinging manner that get my fingers poppin’ and toes tappin,’

Nothing complicated by way of repertoire: some selections from the Great American Songbook and a smattering of tunes that have become Jazz standards that have familiar melodies which make it easy for my ears to follow what’s being improvised over these structures.

Besides their well known melodies, whatever the tempo, each track is played with an insistent beat and creates a forward motion to the rhythm often referred to as Swing.

Also helpful is the fact that the recording was made in performance with an energetic and enthusiastic audience appreciatively urging the musicians along.

All of which comes together to make for the hour or so of satisfying music which can be found on the recently released Storyville CD There is No Greater Love [1018493].

Recorded live in Copenhagen at the famous jazzhus Montmartre on May 20-21, 2016 the recording features pianist Dado Moroni, bassist Jesper Lundgaard and drummer Lee Pearson.

Here’s more about how this fine recording came about from Christian Brorsen’s insert notes. Christian was the producer and jazzhus Montmartre’s Musical Director from 2011-2016.

“The story behind this recording had its starting point in a series of concerts in honor of Danish bassist Niels-Henning 0rsted Pedersen, who would have been 70 years old in May 2016. NH0P was a virtuoso who took bass playing to a new level, both technically and musically - the importance of which

cannot be overstated in the history of jazz. A crucial period in his career was his collaboration with Oscar Peterson, who admired NH0P for his colossal creative energy and ability to instantly turn any musical idea into reality.

Our challenge was to find musicians capable of captivating an audience with this same musical mastery, pushing music that swings like mad to the brink of what is possible. And Dado Moroni, Jesper Lundgaard and Lee Pearson do precisely that. Listening to this recording, it's hard to believe their total preparation time was a couple of hours on the day of the concert. No rehearsal. Not even a sound check, just three musicians who quickly found a natural compatibility, thanks to decades of training in the great American piano-trio tradition. 

Otherwise, the music speaks for itself. These are three equally gifted musicians who aren't shy about displaying their talent. The music flows effortlessly and is constantly creative - evidence that the band was definitely feeling good that evening. Many thanks to Dado, Jesper and Lee for (re)confirming that as a form of culture, jazz is absolutely alive and well. Also, a big thank-you to Mik Neumann for producing such a fine recording. It's almost like being there - again!

About the Musicians: Jesper Lundgaard (Denmark) was the natural choice as bassist for this trio. With his awesome technique, comprehensive overview and infallible rhythm, he has been a member of Tommy Flanagan, Duke Jordan and Horace Parian's trios, among others. 

A generation younger than Lundgaard, Lee Pearson (USA) was brought up by Hank Jones and Kenny Barron. With his energy and humor, he is capable of igniting any trio. (American drummers seem to have a special knack for this!) 

Pianist Dado Moroni (Italy) has played with NH0P, yet is by no means an Oscar Peterson clone. With his fertile creativity he has adapted elements of Peterson (and other American piano masters) to his own unique style and incorporated them into a "European" context. A spell-binding crowd-pleaser!

  • Christian Brorsen Producer and Jazzhus Montmartre's Musical Director - 2011-2016

We are also fortunate in being able to share with you some of the music from this recording so you can actually hear it rather than just read about it.

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