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The David Hazeltine Trio: Impromptu

- CD Reviews

The David Hazeltine Trio: Impromptu
2013 Chesky Records, Inc.

David Hazeltine on Piano
George Mraz on Bass
Jason Brown on Drums

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 7, 2013

This CD is a sophisticated selection of classical piano works, re-arranged by David Hazeltine for a jazz trio. The success of this new recording, on Chesky Records, is its simplicity and uniqueness. I have long heard these classical pieces interpreted with variations in tone, volume, and keyboard attack, but never with jazz infusions. Hazeltine introduces an exciting interpretation of synthesized classical, melodic themes, re-configured and imagined in a contemporary, casual genre.

Notable tracks:

#3 – Impromptu No. 4 – Composed by Frédéric Chopin. Hazeltine extrapolates the essence of Chopin’s Impromptu No. 4, keeps it melancholy, and then infuses earthy bass rhythms and very quiet percussive effects. The first phrases of this track, straight from Chopin, catch the ear, before Hazeltine swiftly adds surprising, inventive shifts to the listener’s musical expectations.

#4 – Moonlight Sonata – Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. This track is spirited, breezy, and bold, with the synthesized theme taking on new shapes and symmetry of sound. The final notes beg for a second listening, as the experience is so aesthetically unique and serendipitous.

#5 – Waltz of the Flowers – Composed by Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. There’s no mistaking this tune, from Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Nutcracker, as ballerinas in floral costumes waltz about. Hazeltine keeps the momentum and motif rambunctious and frilly, with George Mraz, on bass, and Jason Brown, on drums, both prominently featured, with buoyancy and vibrancy.

#7 – Rêverie – Composed by Claude Debussy. Mraz has a nice bass interlude in the midst of this Debussy favorite, with the upbeat tempo exuding bounce and élan. This track, as well as most, could be a danceable performance score, for a clever choreographer. Hazeltine plays these luscious classical tunes with reverence and respect for their origins.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at