Everything about Howe Gelb is cool and understated, and so it is with this new album of original piano trio music. His stated intention was to present some laidback, smoky barroom jazz tunes as if they were old standards (from Hoagy or Frank or Julie London), playing them offhand and behind the beat to suggest familiarity. And it works.
Backed by a sterling rhythm section and joined on a couple of songs by the sultry-as-all-hell voice of Lonna Kelley, Gelb saunters through 12 low-key, often sweetly melancholy (and typically lyrically inventive) gems. Whether you’ll hear these tunes down your local jazz bar soon is hard to say, but this is a late night delight for sipping whiskey and kicking back.