Canadian arranger with a real affection for hard-swinging, contemporary big band jazz.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan [-]
Three of Canada's eminent musicians have gotten together for an album presenting what they call "good old tunes" to praise this music and some of the great jazz masters of the not too ancient past who played it. Rob McConnell is best known as the founder (1968), leader, and arranger for the big-band aggregation Boss Brass. This album documents his considerable skills with a valve trombone as he partners with guitarist Ed Bickert and pianist/bass player Don Thompson for over an hour of assured and confident music making. These three are no strangers to each other with the result that the music they produce is like putting on a pair of favorite slippers. And listening to this album has the same salubrious outcome, utter relaxation with the easing away of the cares and tensions of the day. It will be difficult to find a performance that is more soothing than this trio's rendition of the songs they have selected for the play list. McConnell is in control on "A Sleepin' Bee," dedicated to another practitioner of the relaxed approach to jazz, piano player Jimmy Rowles. He also carries the melody on "I'm Thru With Love" with 12 bars of "Seems Like Old Times" at the end of the tune. Bickert's quiet guitar is always in the background as he comps away in support of McConnell. He is rewarded with significant solo space on "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and "Dream Dancing," among others. Thompson stays with the bass for most of the cuts, moving to piano on the Henry Mancini medley. Tribute is accorded composer David Rose as the trio undertakes a blissful rendering of his "Our Waltz," making this track one of the highlights of the album. Bickert turns off the power for this one as he picks up the acoustic guitar. The closest the group comes to up-tempo, and it's not very close, is on "I Didn't Know Enough About You" in remembering Peggy Lee and guitar player husband Dave Barbour who wrote this song. For more than ten minutes the trio gently dismantles it and then puts it back together. The remaining cuts are equally as enjoyable. Three for the Road is about as tasteful as any jazz album can get and is recommended without reservation.
Rob McConnell (trombone);
Ed Bickert (guitar)
Don Thompson (bass, piano)
1 A Sleepin' Bee 0:00
2 Dream a Little Dream of Me 6:27
3 Two For The Road / Royal Blue / Dreamsville 12:23
4 I'm Thru With Love / Seems Like Old Times 19:03
5 Dream Dancing 25: 52
6 Our Waltz 33:35
7 I Don't Know Enough About You 40:36
8 Last Night When We Were Young / Young And Foolish 51:02
9 In the Blue of Evening 59:00