CD: The Pete Malinverni Trio’s “A Beautiful Thing!”

Pete Malinverni Trio: A Beautiful Thing

(Saranac Records, 2010):

Pianist Pete Malinverni lets it fly with this trio recording and he does indeed come up with a beautiful thing. Backed by bassist Lee Hudson and drummer Eliot Zigmund, Malinverni dances on the keyboard with both confidence and a willingness to go out on a limb.

The repertoire on the 10-song album achieves a delicate balance of standards (“La Vie en Rose” and Harold Arlen’s “My Shining Hour,” which closes out the disc in fine, rumbling style, the only solo piece on the album) and more contemporary pop (Billy Joel’s ballad “And So It Goes,” as well as the gorgeous Bert Bacharach/Hal David gem, “A House Is Not a Home,” which is a particular standout).

But it’s Malinverni’s sublime original compositions that sparkle the brightest. He had previously recorded “In the Garden of the Eternal Optimist” on his 2006 solo album, “Theme and Variations” on the Reservoir label, but here it takes on a new life with the spirited, empathetic bounce of the rhythm section. Another standout track is the majestic, but moody “Evocative,” a minor key variation on Haydn.

Pete Malinverni teams up with saxophonist Steve Wilson and the Leipzig String Quartet for a performance of Haydn’s “The Seven Last Words of Christ” – including, presumably, “Evocative” – at the College of Saint Rose’s Massry Center in Albany at 7:30pm tonight. Tix are $20.

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