Drawing from affiliations to the West Coast jazz scene, Colella and Smith collaborate on Lotus Blossom. The album draws on similarities to Last Dance in its portrayal of the intuitive comprehension both artists have of their counterparts' artistry, skill, and interpretation of the songs comprised within the album.
Jeff Colella – piano
Putter Smith – bass
The team of pianist Jeff Colella and the bassist Putter Smith may not have the name recognition of Jarrett and Haden, but their own duet album may be as rewarding as Last Dance. Both musician’s musicians with longtime associations on the West Coast jazz scene, Colella is best known as an esteemed LA studio stalwart, while Smith gained recognition as the bassist in Alan Broadbent’s trios. Lotus Blossom shares a distinctive sensibility with Last Dance in that each album displays the rare rapport that can be achieved when two players listen to each other with intense acuity. Like Jarrett and Haden, Colella and Smith are frugal minded virtuosos who intuitively comprehend each other’s deepest artistic intentions. There’s not a wasted note here, not a superfluous phrase, not a spotlight-grabbing run. Making music, achieved by the mysterious interaction of two like-minded artists, rather than the prowess of the individual musician, is the exalted goal.
Lotus Blossom also shares with Last Dance a poignant quality reflected in an affecting repertoire. Bill Evans’s “Time Remembered,” Larry Koonse’s “Candle,” Billy Strayhorn’s “Lotus Blossom,” the venerable standard, “The Very Thought Of You” and Colella’s “Gone Too Soon” bring out extraordinarily sensitive, yet never maudlin, playing from these two underrated stylists. A quiet album that fosters, and rewards, close listening, Lotus Blossom is not to be overlooked.