If the previous trio recording by pianist Monty Alexander, guitarist Herb Ellis and Bassist Ray Brown reminded you of a vintage Oscar Peterson session, it was no coincidence. Both Brown and Ellis are alumni of Peterson's classic '50s trios, while Alexander has never hesitated to tackle Peterson's two- fisted complexities.
On "Triple Treat," however, Alexander creates a slightly different mood. More lyrical and less extroverted, his performances on such standards as "Body and Soul" and "But Not for Me" possess a simple beauty all their own. There's still a hint of Peterson's orchestral textures every now and then, but Alexander's impressive technique never overshadows the melodies of these tunes or intrudes on the bright calypso beat of Blue Mitchell's "Fungi Mama."
Ellis is also in top form. He's most comfortable playing the blues in lush chordal turnarounds or swift lines that dart and swerve among the rhythms set down by Brown and Alexander. As always, Brown is tastefully discreet, providing warm tone and an elegant pace on his solos. On Alexander's "Sweet Lady," he lifts his bow to create a haunting preface. It's just another reason why "Triple Treat' represents jazz of the classiest kind. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM MONTY ALEXANDER, RAY BROWN & HERB ELLIS, Triple Treat (Concord Jazz CJ-193). THE CONCERT ALEXANDER, BROWN & ELLIS, Tuesday through Sunday at Charlie's Georgetown.