It’s a change of pace, but not in the usual sense. Dan Trudell, known as an organist, opts for another instrument on Dan Trudell Plays the Piano (2015) by the Dan Trudell Trio.
Accompanying the artist are Matt Wilson on drums; and Joe Sanders on bass.
The trio sets the stage early with a vibrant, bouncy take on Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” Trudell gets the familiar out of the way quickly, then takes the listener on the happiest of happy-go-lucky jaunts. One can easily get the sense of joy shared by the musicians as they perform.
“McCoy for Now,” one of two original songs in the set, is dedicated to McCoy Tyner. It’s a contemporary, ambient piece. Dynamic, brooding and charming all at once. About midway through, the trio shifts gears into something of an urgent mission. A mission wrought with hidden dangers and unexpected turns. As the listener’s mind visualizes a scene from an adventure, Trudell and his companions shift back to the main theme.
Trudell is right at home in this setting. And though the piano is featured throughout each piece, bass and drums are firmly engaged and get plenty of action, especially on some of the faster selections.
Feeling pigeonholed as an organist, Trudell decided upon this project to remind people that he’s also an excellent pianist. With the exception of two arrangements of standards from the American Songbook, all tracks were written by pianists, including two Trudell originals that were written for pianists.
Born in Michigan’s upper peninsula, Trudell studied classical organ from age 12 and entered Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, majoring in organ and tuba. He found himself drawn to jazz piano and transferred to the renowned jazz program at North Texas State University. After college, he played the cruise ship circuit before settling in Boston. Trudell spent some time in Chicago and now resides in the resort community of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.