Drummer Stanton Moore plays in Galactic, Garage a Trois, and various groove projects, but on Conversations he leads an acoustic New Orleans–based straight-ahead jazz band through a set heavy on local material. Moore’s stated goal is to further his jazz chops in much the same way he did with funk on 2010’s Groove Alchemy. Joined by pianist David Torkanowsky and bassist James Singleton, the band fluently mix second-line jams like “Carnival,” some rhythmic Horace Silver–style bebop on “Lauren Z,” and NOLA stride piano blues on “Driftin’.” Never shy about his drumming (nor should he be!), Moore drops a nice break into the middle of “Magnolia Triangle” and generally pushes the band along, but he also tastefully lays low with brushes on “Tchefunkta.” The entire band do a wonderful low-key approximation of a funeral march on the soulful “Waltz for Old Souls,” with Singleton offering a poignant bowed solo. The trio have been holding down a standing Tuesday-night gig at Snug Harbor, and the chemistry is fully developed here; it's one of the better piano-trio albums to come out of the Crescent City in some time.

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