"The Truth of What I Am is Greater Than the Narcissist"
Inner Circle Music
With a title based on a Charles Mingus quote, pianist George Burton's debut album instantly puts him on the jazz map. His solos are wonderful, with a flair reminiscent of McCoy Tyner, but the album is also a showcase for his compositional abilities. Tunes move from catchy heads to avant-garde frenzy in a manner that seems just right. Between compositions are some nicely experimental interludes like "Ber...nie's," an under-the-hood (of the piano) take on the Gerry Mulligan classic "Bernie's Tune," which also comes a few tracks later as the album's only cover.
That cut features a superb solo by trumpeter Jason Palmer, who is indicative of the excellent company Burton keeps. Especially outstanding are solos on saxophone by Tim Warfield and bass by Noah Jackson on Burton's driving composition "Second Opinion"; Terell Stafford's beautiful trumpet solo on the gorgeous ballad, "In Places"; and Ilan Bar-Lavi's excellent guitar flight on "From Grace to Grass." Bar-Lavi's solo grows ever more manic, building to a wild snippet of surf guitar. Also terrific are Chris Hemingway on sax and Wayne Smith Jr., a propulsive force on drums.