How does one emerge on the scene in a trio format and
be distinctive? Well, one way is to bring some original material and take
ownership of covers. Pianist Ben Rosenblum accomplishes this with his
debut, Instead (One Trick Dog Records, 2017).
Rosenblum are Curtis Lundy, bass; and Billy Hart, drums.
successfully avoids sounding ordinary by steering clear of the standards,
popular jazz songs that have been covered ad nauseam. Instead, perhaps a
hint of the thinking behind the album title, he composes six original
songs and reinterprets five others that are a bit off the beaten path.
Rosenblum and his sidemen deliver each song with fire and energy,
especially the faster pieces. As the leader, he is out front most of the
way, but he doesn’t dominate. Lundy and Hart complement him well when the
piano has the lead, but they also get their moments to stretch out as
Among the standout originals are “Because It’s Raining,”
“Clarisse and Walter,” “Blur” and “Azucar.” The trio also delivers
favorable renditions of Charlie Haden’s “First Song,” Duke Ellington’s
“Single Petal of a Rose” and more.
Rosenblum is based in New York
City. In 2010, he won the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers award, the Downbeat
Student Music Award for Best Original Song, and the Downbeat Student Music
Award for Best Arrangement in 2011. He has performed with the Bachiana
Brasileira Orchestra at Lincoln Center and in Delhi, India, and he has
performed at the Masten Jazz Festival in Buffalo, New York, the Richmond,
Mid-Atlantic jazz festivals, Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival and many
Rosenblum is founder of the Columbia Jazz House, a
student-run jazz advocacy group at Columbia University, which promotes
jazz on campus through concerts, educational workshops and jam sessions.