Noah Haidu got a late start leading dates because he spent so much time absorbing everything he could as a student of jazz. Now poised to release his third album, the New Jersey native and pianist is holding a master class in jazz that swings but with thoughtful modernity.
For Infinite Distances, Haidu digs deep to produce his best work to date; the title comes from philosopher and writer Rainer Maria Rilke that Haidu learned about while studying Kenny Kirkland and formed the inspiration for a six-part suite that comprises much of the album. Inspiration also comes in the form of a wicked-good front line of Jon Irabagon (tenor/soprano sax), Sharel Cassity (alto sax) and Jeremy Pelt (trumpet). Bassists Ariel Alejandro De La Portilla and Peter Brendler along with drummers Mark Ferber and John Davis make up the bullpen for Haidu’s rhythm section.
The graceful finesse that Haidu has mastered from countless gigs and mentoring from the likes of Kenny Barron and David Hazeltine bear sweet fruit on his composition “They Who??”, premiering in the stream above. The Cassity/Irabagon/Pelt horn harmonies heavily invoke that mid-60s Blue Note feel after which Pelt peels off to solo with honeyed tone and delivery. Haidu’s turn follows, distilling all his influences into his own voice possessing that natural flow and elegance that’s the mark of all the greats like Barron, McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea.
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