|The Perfect Set presents Barron in the purest state of musical creation. A live recording doesn’t rely on producer tricks, multiple takes, or an engineer’s aural alchemy. It rests on the telepathic interplay of the musicians, as evidenced by the riveting rapport between Barron and his cohorts.
On the first track, “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” Barron’s opening piano statement flows with the kind of graceful grandeur he’s displayed for the past four decades, then Riley and Drummond turn the tune from a ballad to a stately, midtempo number with a bouncy walking bassline. Next up is a Barron original entitled “The Only One,” a spirited uptempo offering based on Thelonious Monk’s “Hackensack.” Another Barron composition, the haunting “Twilight Song,” (also recorded with bassist Charlie Haden on the CD Night and the City) is rendered here with a bouncy bossa nova beat. The Monk vibe returns again on “Shuffle Boil,” a solo tour-de-force where Barron takes the Harlem stride style rent party rhythms that Monk learned from the legendary James P. Johnson, and updates them for the 21st Century. The set concludes with a supersonic rendition of Monk’s classic, “Well, You Needn’t.”