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Runaway by George Collignon

George Colligan’s new CD Runaway contains a combination of mainstream, fusion and new age jazz, in all originals by the leader. To this listener, the most successful tracks are those on which he plays straight-ahead, unfettered piano in a trio context.

Fortunately, six of the 11 numbers fall into the latter category. The four that he plays Fender Rhodes and synthezizers on are less successful. Many sided, he plays tumpet on one, and it's a winner.

Colligan was born in 1969 and raised in Baltimore, later moving on to New York. Piano is his primary tool, but he also plays organ, drums and trumpet, in addidtion to the amplified instruments. He teaches at Juilliard and has appeared with an array of greats, including Phil Woods, Billy Higgins, Lee Konitz, and Benny Golson.

On this CD, he appears with his regulars, bassist John Ginsburg and drummer Enoch Jamal Strickland, along with guitarist Tom Guarna who sits in on several numbers. Two cuts, featuring vocalist Kerry Politzer, singing in a wavering, new-agey voice, are completely expendable.

The standout is the title track, the Latin-flavored "Runaway," showing off Colligan’s flashy technique, teaming with drummer Strickland for a dynamic finish. Displaying his impressive creativity, "R U Things the All," is a unique take on the standard "All the Things You Are." Ginsburg’s bass and Guarna’s guitar are impressive here.

His smooth jazz turn on the amplified sections sound somewhat hackneyed, reminiscent of early Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, both of whom, he says, influenced him. On these selections, though, guitarist Guarna brings in lilting guitar solos, particularly in "Be Gentle."

As said, versatility is a strong suit for Colligan, and he shows this in spades, playing trumpet on "Innocent Youth." His lyrical Chet Baker-like sound is refreshing, and Politzer fills in most aptly here in support on piano.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: George Collignon
  • CD Title: Runaway
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Sunnyside Records
  • Tracks: End of A Dynasty, The Righteous, When I Go, R U Things the All, Be Gentle, Skeletons in the Closet, Forlorning, Ghostland, Waltz for All the Things We Meant to Do and Never Did, Innocent Youth, Runaway
  • Rating: Three Stars
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