Eugen Cicero, the man known as ‘Mr. Golden Hands’, continues with his masterful mix of jazz and classical styles, once again expertly accompanied by the crack MPS ‘house rhythm section’ of German bassist Peter Witte and Swiss drummer Charly Antolini. For this outing, the Romanian piano maestro selected popular standards from the Great American Songbook and Romanian folksongs.
The trio takes Gershwin’s classic I Got Rhythm up-tempo, with Cicero giving the listener some jazz history lessons that includes a masterful stride section. Eugen runs through a potpourri of styles and feelings on his versions of Romanian Folk Songs, and the trio returns for Gershwin’s Summertime, strolling through a garden of musical delights, changing times and tempos as they go. Cicero infuses What Kind of Fool Am I with classic romanticism, chromatic arpeggios, a powerful left-hand walking bass line, and virtuoso finesse, then the trio takes on the evergreen Bye Bye Blackbird in a swinging, bluesy medium groove.
Cicero again takes leave of the rhythm section on the next Romanian Folk Song, a piece that begins in a fascinating 3-3-2 time before sliding into some honky-tonk fun. The trio is back for Cicero’s romantic rendition of the ballad My Foolish Heart, and Cicero finishes the set with his exquisite, multifaceted solo version of the popular Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo from the Leslie Caron movie, Lili. A thoroughly enjoyable album and a testament to the exuberant creativity of Eugen Cicero.
Label: MPS Records
Release Date: 1 December 2017
Peter Witte (Bass), Charly Antolini (Drums), Eugen Cicero (Piano)
Last modified: July 15, 2018