Downbeat - The Pat Bianchi Trio

A Higher Standard ~ Bill Milkowski

The Rochester native and organist in Pat Martino’s trio for the past four years brings a reverence for the old school, a masterful touch with grooving left-handed bass lines and a scorching right- hand technique to this set of jazz standards, Broadway show tunes and two originals. 

Accompanied by the swinging Philly-based guitarist Craig Ebner and veteran drummer Byron Landham (a longtime member of Joey DeFrancesco’s group), Bianchi tears it up on “Without A Song,” famously covered by Sonny Rollins on The Bridge (1962), and flaunts his Jimmy Smith-inspired burn on a relaxed medium-tempo rendition of Horace Silver’s “Blue Silver,” the latter featuring an outstanding solo from Ebner. The syncopated crew steps into a more modernist, Larry Young-ish zone on Bianchi’s “The Will Of Landham,” which again showcases the organist’s incen- diary right-hand runs. And they settle into a mellow accord on two songs associated with Bill Evans—Leonard Bernstein’s poignant “Some Other Time” and the great pianist’s gently swinging waltz, “Very Early”—both underscored by Landham’s inimitable brushwork. Then it’s back to the sheer burn factor on John Coltrane’s “Satellite,” Oscar Pettiford’s “Bohemia After Dark” and Bianchi’s own jaunty “Blues Mi- nus One,” the latter fueled by Landham’s conver- sational, loosely swinging pulse. 

This is feel-good music delivered by three consummate pros on the organ group circuit.