Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Rick Germanson's solid piano not simply off the cuff

Pianist Rick Germanson may be best known as a member of drummer Louis Hayes’ Cannonball Legacy Band, and with Hayes and bassist Gerald Cannon, has a new album, Off the Cuff (Owl Studios), that is a swinging session that ranges from hard driving post bop to lyrical ballad playing.

One can hear a definite McCoy Tyner influence in some of the playing, but he tosses in his own twist in some of the compositions such as the opening Quagmire with Hayes’ employing some nice brushwork on the interesting theme. Jill’s Song, dedicated to his late sister, opens with his thoughtful solo piano before segueing into a genial waltz time with some nice playing. Daytona, another number displaying a Tyner-ish tinge, features some strong bass from Cannon.

A lovely ballad performance,Up Jumped Spring, serves as a tribute to its composer, Freddie Hubbard, with some nice brushwork from Hayes adding to Germanson’s thoughtful playing. The tempo quickens along with a hint of Latin rhythms on the Arlen/ Mercer standard, This Time The Dream’s On Me, which is followed by Burt Bacharach’s Wives and Lovers, which allows Cannon to take a nice solo.

The Way of Water, is a reflective and evocative solo followed by Autumn in New York, again with Hayes shining on brushes and Cannon exploring the low-end on his improvisation. Bill Milkowski notes, in the accompanying booklet, that Brick hints at Horace Silver’s Cooking at the Continental, and likewise is a burner, which also provides a solo showcase for Hayes.

In all, Off the Cuff is a solid showcase for pianist Germanson and is available from at Rick’s website,, amazon, itunes, and other sources.

My review copy was provided by a publicist for the release. The review appeared originally in the August 2009 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 319). I have changed the website on how to buy this because the link in published review no longer works.

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