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A valued and talented pianist, James Weidman has been a sideman and accompanist in many settings over the past 20 years, from Abbey Lincoln and Steve Coleman to Kevin Mahogany and Joe Lovano. He has also proven to be an increasingly significant bandleader and composer. His most recent CD, Three Worlds, is arguably his finest recording to date.
On Three Worlds, Weidman performs nine of his originals plus the traditional “Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho” with his trio, a quartet with vibraphonist Jay Hoggard, and a sextet with trombonist Ray Anderson and the reeds of Marty Ehrlich.
James Weidman’s music fits into the modern mainstream of jazz without being predictable. With original chord changes and voicings, his mastery is demonstrated with various changes in rhythm and time. On Three Worlds, a trio of tunes showcase his trio. Two numbers have vibraphonist Hoggard making the group a quartet. Five selections feature Ehrlich and Anderson in the frontline of a particularly adventurous quintet. Wide ranging music like hard bop original “Mirrored Images” to the exuberant ensembles of “Razz 2.0” and a soulful “Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho,” make Three Worlds a program where repeated listenings will lead to more to discover.
In addition to recording Three Worlds, Weidman has been teaching at William Paterson University, arranging a set of slave songs for the UMO Jazz Orchestra in Helsinki, Finland, for a project called “The Black Spirituals.” He also leads his own trio and duo in the New York area and appears in a countless number of musical situations, often as a leader. He also toured Russia, giving him a chance to perform with Russian jazz musicians.
And there is no doubt that James Weidman’s career will continue to feature the high-quality modern jazz, creativity and good taste that has characterized his important work thus far. Three Worlds gives listeners a strong sampling of his artistry.