Famously, Keith Jarrett, alongside Gary Peacock and Paul Motian, played at the Deer Head Inn back in 1992, when the Pennsylvania venue acquired new owners and Jarrett returned, 30 or so years after his first ever serious engagement there fronting a piano trio, to say thank you.
One of the songs he played was Bye Bye Blackbird, his buoyant and easily swinging treatment in strong contrast to Jim Snidero’s more considered and intricate quartet version. More considered, for the shadow of the pandemic hung heavily over this live set, hence Snidero’s choice of just standards, for they provide what he calls “comfort music” – that is, comfort in a time of pain, not comfort as in ease.
The latter is evident in that much of the music is quite trenchant, notably the opening Parker stalwart Now’s The Time. Autumn Leaves is edgier and denser than usually played, while Ol’ Man River is raw and bruised, Idle Moments soulful and calm. Three strong tracks conclude the set in fine style, Yesterdays a barnstorming finale.
Snidero’s saxophone is always searching, always exploring, inquisitive as to where the melody and rhythm might take him next. Pianist Orrin Evans is always pertinent to proceedings, and notably stroppy on Who Can I Turn To, bassist Peter Washington a bit hidden in the mix, while drummer Joe Farnsworth is nicely subtle throughout. It was obviously a good night out.
Now’s The Time; Autumn Leaves; Ol’ Man River; Bye Bye Blackbird; Idle Moments; Who Can I Turn To; My Old Flame; Yesterdays (55.53)
Snidero (as); Orrin Evans (p); Peter Washington (b); Joe Farnsworth (d). Deer Head Inn, Delaware Water Gap, PA, 31 October, 10 November 2020.
Savant SCD 2193