Impromptu: Ted Rosenthal Trio
Ted Rosenthal – piano
Noriko Ueda – bass
Quincy Davis – drums
1. Ballade in G minor
2. Nocturne in F minor
3. Impromptu in G flat
4. June
5. Traumerei
6. Presto
7. O Mio Babbino Caro
8. Intermezzo in B flat minor
9. Fantasy in D minor
10. Theme from Symphony No. 5
Playscape Recordings officially welcomes back New York-based pianist/composer Ted Rosenthal to its roster with Impromptu, his first recording for the label since 2002. This release finds Rosenthal's two year-old trio, featuring bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Quincy Davis, reinventing music by Brahms, Chopin, Mozart, Puccini, Schubert, Schumann and Tchaikovsky for the classic jazz piano trio format.

"For the past few years, I have regularly performed my jazz arrangements and improvisations on themes from the classical repertoire, both with my trio and as a soloist," recalls Rosenthal in the liner notes. "My goal is for the music to sound like a natural, unforced jazz presentation. It feels very natural to craft these pieces into forms like that of the Great American Songbook. I like to play them with the ease and familiarity of a favorite standard, and the harmonic progressions lend themselves to similar harmonic re-workings that I do with the American standards. For me, playing jazz on these classical themes is an exciting coming together of traditions."

Top 10 of 2010
— Joe Lang, Jazz Journalists Association
Top 10 Jazz Stories of 2010
— Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix
Favorite Jazz CDs of 2010
— Jim Wilke, Jazz After Hours
Davis and Ueda give quietly urging support, and I was most impressed with Rosenthal's deeply thoughtful version of Mozart's Fantasy in D minor. This CD will please both Jazz listeners who know none of the "original" themes and classicists with open ears.
— Michael Steinman, Cadence
Those who don't recognize the original versions won't be at any loss to enjoy the record; those familiar, on the other hand, should find an extra delight. Rosenthal's inventions are wonderful to hear, as they unfold longstanding performance standards. Regardless of the ultimate source of the music, Impromptu is a really fine jazz album. It swings, it's beautifully recorded, and the performances are top notch from everyone involved.
— Greg Simmons,
The results are consistently intriguing, never gimmicky like some other ventures by jazz musicians into classical, and often swing and inspire improvising as much as the best jazz standards. Rosenthal is creatively versatile in his adaptations, ranging for inspiration from bebop to Garner, a soulful 6/8 groove to Brazilian and rhumba rhythms. Throughout, the trio sculpts real jazz out of classical clay.
— George Kanzler, Hot House
10 Best New Jazz CDs of 2010 list... Rosenthal has transformed venerable themes by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Mozart, and more into rich, new vehicles for creative jazz interpretation and improvisation.
— Bob Bernotas, WNTI 91.9 FM
Impromptu is music that celebrates classic melodies and the rhythmic influences of jazz and blues without sacrificing creativity. If the trio's treatment of Tchaikovsky's "June" doesn't make you smile, you just might not be alive.
— Richard Kamins, Step Tempest
Joined by bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Quincy Davis, Rosenthal puts his stamp on selections by Brahms, Chopin, Mozart, Schumann and other old-school longhairs.
— Time Out New York
Bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Quincy Davis are the perfect compadres for Rosenthal's fluid elegance, subtle humor, and flat-out swing. From the opening track, his blazing technique predicts an unusually masterful excursion; as the CD unfolds, each piece reveals its own singular charms and surprises. Among the unexpected delights, Rosenthal adds wit to Schubert and funk to Brahms, and restores the pensive beauty of the often-abused "Traumerei".
— Dr. Judith Schlesinger,
The pianist, bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Quncy Davis approach pieces by Bach, Schubert and Brahms as they would those by other revered composers – say, Monk, Ellington and Mulligan. This is not the tiresome foolery that used to be called "jazzing the classics." It is serious music making on substantial material, and it is great fun.
— Doug Ramsey, Rifftides
In the liner notes for Impromptu, Ted Rosenthal says that he wants his interpretations of Brahms, Chopin, Mozart, Puccini, Schubert, Schumann and Tchaikovsky to "sound like natural, unforced jazz presentations." He succeeds. Rosenthal's trio with bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Quincy Davis energizes their elegant melodic and harmonic content into new, light-footed swing, then uses that promising core content for polite, urbane blowing...technically erudite and impeccably tasteful...Impromptu could serve as a friendly introduction to jazz for the most cautious, conservative, cultivated wing of the classical music audience.
— Thomas Conrad, JazzTimes
Classical themes – by the likes of Schumann and Brahms – provide the fodder on Impromptu (Playscape), the new album by the pianist Ted Rosenthal. What provides the substance is his playing, with its acute intellect and limpid touch.
— Nate Chinen, New York Times
A musician's musician who balances technique and taste...
— The New Yorker
The sound was maddeningly familiar. A beautiful ballad melody spelled out by a pianist with perfect mastery of the legato line – the widely spaced notes leaning one into the next, the voice leading in the left hand, the little pools and eddies of ornamentation – was supported by brushes and bass. Surely this was a standard I just couldn't recall. But it was Chopin's "Nocturne in F minor", played by the Ted Rosenthal Trio on their new Impromptu (Playscape Recordings).
— Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix
This group performs as a unit, as a single entity, and as three lobes of one mind. Noriko Ueda is one of the most sympathetic and tasteful players I've heard in a long time, and Quincy Davis' dynamic range is incredible. He is a drummer that is able to make you forget he is even there, yet his presence of mind and intensity are in full effect. If you are a classical fan looking to understand what jazz is about, or how a jazz musician thinks, this would be the perfect gateway. And, if you are a jazz fan looking to hear some of the beautiful themes of the past few hundred years played in your favorite style, you will enjoy Impromptu.
— Ryan Prestone, Jazz Inside New York
A serious listen to pianist Ted Rosenthal's Impromptu will be a mind-changing experience for classical music lovers who may still look down their noses at jazz and for jazzers who bemoan that classical training stifles creativity. For those familiar with Rosenthal's approach to classical music, sit back and enjoy these wonderfully creative takes on ten compositions from the classical canon that have never sounded so cool...a session that once again shows Rosenthal to be among the most creative musicians in the mainstream.
— Elliott Simon, AllAboutJazz-New York