|Denny Zeitlin — Piano
Buster Williams — Bass
Matt Wilson — Drums
1. There Will Never Be Another You 7:04
"There is almost no one musician playing today who can deconstruct a standard and then put it back together again like Denny Zeitlin. On his breathtaking album, Stairway to the Stars he does just that… Mr. Zeitlin literally owns the piano and commands it to do his bidding when he sits down to play… He is almost without parallel in jazz and the equal of any musician in the classical realm as well… The recording is worthy of being judged to be a masterpiece… His pianism is echoed by the brilliance, of course, of bassist Buster Williams and the percussion colouring of drummer Matt Wilson… "
"5 Stars [highest rating]… A studio release of this magnitude would be a great album. Stairway To The Stars as a live release is catching lightning in a bottle!"
"… like all of Denny's albums, it's an adventure… Denny turns standards inside out without abandoning their spirit. Songs start with a familiar reference point, with Denny then layering the melody with gorgeous chord changes. Then he takes us off on an improvisational voyage deep inside the song, giving you insight into what makes it special and what holds it together… let go and feel the tidal pull of his approach and enjoy his scuba exploration of music, where the notes dart around like tropical fish. This album is worthwhile for Oleo alone. Trust me, no matter how well you know Sonny Rollins's standard, you don't know it like this."
"… These three are formidable together… What sets the Zeitlin-Williams-Wilson trio apart is its openness and ardor: They approach this material as if it's never been played before, deconstructing the melodies and rebuilding them in their own image. Zeitlin, who had already been playing professionally for three-and-a half decades at this point, favors a sensitive, inquisitive touch on ballads with which Williams and Wilson naturally empathize. They're clearly in love with each other's playing."
"… The evening's set is mostly ballads, except for a crisply bopping take of “Oleo” that takes you for a white knuckler of a ride … This disc is one for the ages."
"… [Denny Zeitlin] piano trio triumphs… Over his five-decade-long career, pianist Denny Zeitlin has been a consistently questing musician, forging his own discovery-driven sound whether performing in solo, duo, trio or even electronic formats… Zeitlin is all about exploring, and never about playing it safe. In particular, reharmonizing gives him and his listeners thrills and he's keen to improvise new colours to staples… "
"… [the trio displays] a spirit of fun, adventure and devil-may-care panache. ..Few pianists working today have his command of harmonic depth, his "just right" and sometimes daring touch with a melody… always supple touch and endless inventiveness… A beautiful set … ."
"Top five summer releases to groove on: Denny Zeitlin can play the hell out of the piano. He means business. With just his faithful, bare-bones trio — drummer Matt Wilson and bassist Buster Williams — Zeitlin reinvigorates straight-ahead jazz with artful, brisk, and, when called for, coyly intimate numbers that allow each musician to dig deep. None of this is surprising for a jazz veteran with over 30 well-received albums to his name, two DownBeat Critics Poll wins, and network appearances… Stairway To The Stars is a live album of exquisite covers and an original composition by Zeitlin… "
"[Stairway To The Stars] gives Zeitlin aficionados another opportunity to marvel at the subtlety and inquisitiveness of this enigmatic pianist."
"… the music has lost none of its power to intrigue and endure… The trio's interaction seems telepathic… Back in 2001, Stairway to the Stars would have been a prophetic portrait of the elegant music lying ahead for the trio. In 2014, we can look back at their starting point and look ahead to their next adventure."
"The years have done nothing to tame Dr. Zeitlin's interest in exploration… Recent playing by Zeitlin has been squarely in the modern jazz mainstream — beautiful, varied, harmonically sophisticated… a pianist who thinks like an orchestra… Zeitlin is a big pianist who takes up plenty of sonic space and interest... As a ballad player, Zeitlin is exceptional and resourceful… Zeitlin can cook at fast tempos when he chooses… He's still doing things a little differently, exploring the horizon, bringing his own touch to everything."
"… Messrs. Zeitlin, Williams and Wilson sound as if they were made to play together… Dr. Denny Zeitlin creates music that is timeless yet of his time… "
"[Special Recommendation] Stairway To The Stars comes from the same engagement as Zeitlin's Trio In Concert, released in 2009. If anything, the sequel finds the pianist even more intimately engaged with the veteran bassist Buster Williams and the young drummer Matt Wilson… . Among the highlights in the new album: Zeitlin's audacious chromaticisms in Wayne Shorter's “Deluge."
"… Zeitlin's latest Sunnyside release, Stairway To The Stars, captures a magical performance by the 2001 trio close to its inception, from a live performance at The Jazz Bakery in Culver City, California… Standards take the fore on the disc, but are anything but “standard” here… Throughout, the disc is testament to the rare ability of these musicians, and evidence that even great artists sound best in the right company."