Jerome Wilson, All About Jazz

Henry Conerway III operates in the realm of the piano trio, leading a group with a nitty-gritty feel that relies a lot on blues and gospel. They tackle tunes by the likes of Ray BrownDuke Ellington and Phineas Newborn, Jr. as well as their own compositions with sly wit and energy. They slip into a nasty after hours roadhouse groove on Brown’s “Slippery,” jog through Ellington’s “Cottontail” at a brisk tempo and meander through a bit of urbane blues on Newborn’s “Sugar Ray.” 

Pianist Kenny Banks Jr. puts a lot of blues and soul feeling into his playing but also shows versatility. He goes into a cross between gospel and early 20th century parlor piano on the title track and pounces on the melody like Oscar Peterson on “The Feel Goods.” Bassist Kevin Smithand Conerway provide understated swing and occasionally navigate tricky rhythms on tracks like a slower than normal version of Jimmy Heath’s “Gingerbread Boy.” Their work keeps Banks anchored in strong grooves that keep the set’s down home feel going. They also both get feature spots. Smith shows off his plucking skills on the funky “Slippery” while Conerway saves his flashy moves for the closing solo piece, “Carvin’s Agreement,” a rolling drum soliloquy with a Latin touch dedicated to his mentor, drummer Michael Carvin

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