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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, May 09, 2011

To the Pete Malinverni Trio at the Albright-Knox Saturday night, the final show in Bruce Eaton's Hunt Real Estate Art of Jazz series this season. Bruce deserves every plaudit I can think of for working this project the way he has-- I am inclined to believe that it is one of the most important cultural institutions in the region. It sprang from his forehead full-blown, and now it has acquired a world-wide reputation-- pretty impressive. Usually at the end of a season Bruce lets us in on who is coming next season, but this year we just got a teaser. Charles Lloyd went back to his label after his performance and said that the Art of Jazz audience was the best they'd played in front of on their entire tour. ECM, which already liked the series and the venue, came back with this news, and told Bruce that they have an artist who'll be playing three dates in the US next year: one in New York, one on the West Coast, and when would be good for the Albright-Knox date?

Pete Malinverni, to get back to the artist under discussion, is originally from Niagara Falls, although he is now based in New York, so he had a hometown crowd to work with, full of family, relatives and friends. He reveled in it, and put on a bright, energetic performance that was a pleasure to hear. Really, when you get right down to it there are few things that sound as great as a piano trio. The pre-concert feature was a movie: Bill Evans in Helsinki, which documented Evans and his trio playing in a Finnish living room in 1970. At one point Evans said that the trio he was working with (Eddie Gomez, bass and Marty Morell, drums) played together "like water pouring from a faucet". I'd say that Malinverni and his group (bassist Lee Hudson and drummer Eliot Zigmund-- an Evans alum) were more like a mountain brook-- bubbly and bright, and more powerful than they first appeared. The opener was a Malinverni composition based on the changes from "What is This Thing Called Love"-- Malinverni titled his piece "Good Question" and that sense of humor pervaded the entire performance.

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