Yay!! the new CD, PUZZLE is out. Featuring Kevin Axt on Bass and Steve Hass on Drums.Here are some samples. Release Date is July 30,2015. Scroll down for reviews. To Order for only $10 (plus shipping) click here. Buy CD Now
The player below contains some samples. Enjoy.
Since his arrival on the LA jazz scene some three decades ago, pianist Mitchel Forman now finds himself once again in familiar territory as he cultivates and balances his dazzling technique on 12 great songs that comprise his latest offering for BFM Jazz. Puzzle features Mitchel with bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Steve Hass on what is surely one of Mitchel Forman’s most personal and rewarding discs. Even though he has performed with such jazz giants as Stan Getz, Bill Evans, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny and Wayne Shorter over the course of his career, Puzzle is on his leader board and it swings, grooves, and tells great stories that you as the listener will enjoy.
On Puzzle, the Mitchel Forman Trio plays an assortment of jazz and pop standards as well as several of Mitchel Forman’s original compositions. Among the standout performances is their rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” This song is given a new mood and its arrangement for Forman’s trio will probably be included in aspiring pianists’ repertoire because of its beauty and resonance. The title track also deserves your undivided attention because of its originality and impressive arrangement.
In addition to playing the piano, organ, melodica and synths, Mitchel Forman also produced this exemplary CD and created an intuitive, open and exuberant musical experience for you to enjoy. Check it out. (Paula Edelstein)
Mitchel Forman Trio, “Puzzle” (BFM Jazz). How can you not love a disc where the bass player – Kevin Axt – “whacked his head on an unfinished door frame” in the recording studio, says his pianist/leader “and played the rest of the day probably with a concussion.” That, jokes pianist Mitchel Forman “might explain some of his ‘dizzying’ solo work.” All kidding aside, when a veteran pianist who’s played with Stan Getz, Michael Brecker, Jaco Pastorius, Hiram Bullock, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny and Wayne Shorter, among others, opens up a disc by putting together Keith Jarrett’s “Death and the Flower” and “What Is This Thing Called Love?,” you know that no one is kidding around – not when they burn at up tempo as much as these three do. There is no shortage of jazz pianists in the 21st century who are liable to play Bacharach’s “Alfie” theme and Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time” but that doesn’t make the Forman Trio’s version of them anything less than fresh and newly minted. This is pianist who can turn Mingus’ “Nostalgia in Times Square” into a completely convincing, relaxed and funky jazz piano trio piece. “Being a sideman is excellent training” he says now. He’s recorded discs under his own name before but not as impressively as this. (Jeff Simon)
A cat that’s been at it over 35 years with a stellar solo and sideman resume, Forman had a chance to make a record by happenstance and seized on the opportunity by creating art that he wouldn’t have had the chance to pursue through the usual means. He meets the challenge head on by crafting jazz/art that you can play repeatedly as well as for your friends without them checking their watches and rolling their eyes. A heartfelt roller coaster ride with nary a note of the tortured artist effect in evidence, piano jazz fans have an unexpected trio treat here that presents standards as anything but. Well done. (Chris Spector)
Mitchel Forman Trio – Puzzle – (BFM Jazz)
Los Angeles pianist/composer Mitchel Forman joins with soulmates Kevin Axt on bass and Steve Hass on drums for a collage of casual virtuosity that demonstrates a versatilty and facility than transcends the idiom of jazz. These are more assemblages than tunes, a bit of this style or that joined together like the puzzle pieces used to illustrate the cover of the CD. This may be fitting for an artist who has collaborated with Stan Getz, Wayne Shorter, Carla Bley, Jaco Pastorious and Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. On this disc he covers Keith Jarrett, Joantha Brook, Mingus, and Bachrach, and his own tunes contain a similar diversity of styles. Even within tunes there are rapid shifts, and revelatory juxtapositions. My faves are the up tempo “Bounce”, “Ten Cent Wings”, “Cartoons”, “Puzzle”, and a medley with Keith Jarrett’s “Death and the Flower” married to the sublime and wondrous tune, Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?”.
Hobert Taylor KUCI.org
Puzzle; Mitchel Forman, piano.
Mitchel Forman is a prolific sideman who’s played with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz and Jon McLaughlin. Perhaps with this new CD, which features bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Steve Hass, Forman will finally grab the spotlight as a leader.
From the opening track, a clever interpolation of the Cole Porter standard “What Is this Thing Called Love” and Keith Jarrett’s “Death and the Flower,” Forman establishes himself as a unique voice on the piano. His style is precise, reminiscent of Oscar Peterson at times, but with a Jarrett-like harmonic sensibility. For most of the album, which has several fresh takes on jazz and pop standards, the focus is on Forman’s playing and his synergy with the rest of the trio. On the Charles Mingus classic “Nostalgia in Times Square,” Forman offers a thick helping of the blues, and his trio-mates respond, ultimately breaking into a full-bore Blakey shuffle. On a re-harmonized, breakbeatinspired take on Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” Hass fills every space between Forman’s rapid-fire lines with stunning accuracy.
Though the originals on the album don’t quite have the same staying power as the reinterpreted standards, they’re more than suitable springboards for the trio. One of the more memorable tunes is the rock number “Passing Smile,” which features Forman on melodica as well as piano (he also plays synth and organ throughout the album). The repetitive melody of the song borders on smooth jazz territory, but Forman’s piano solo, which juxtaposes melodic high-note lines with percussive lefthand stabs, keeps the proceedings three-dimensional. The brisk “Cartoons” is reminiscent of something the Robert Glasper trio might cook up, with a gliding melody that never sounds like a caricature.
With up-tempo swing, odd-meter grooves, and singable melodies, one gets the sense that there’s nothing this trio isn’t game for.
BFM Jazz; 2015; approx 68 min. (Tree Palmedo)