This is one of the last sessions by Walter Bishop, Jr.
prior to his death in 1998. The veteran bop pianist is in great form on this trio date with bassist Paul Brown and drummer Al Harewood
, which mixes standards, bop classics, and several originals. Bishop
's jaunty approach to "Yardbird Suite" is a gem, while his lush treatment of "The Masquerade Is Over" finds the rhythm section staying softly in the background. He revisits "Speak Low," a centerpiece of his first date as a leader some 32 years earlier, playfully detouring into Billy Strayhorn
's "Rain Check" and leaving room for a few drum breaks by Harewood
. His "Valley Land" is an intense mid-tempo samba, while "Keiko's Samba" kicks into a higher gear. This Japanese CD on the Venus label is worth seeking.