The pianist David Cook has worked with a number of pop artists including ’N Sync, Mary J. Blige, and Britney Spears. But he’s a jazzman, too: he’s collaborated with saxophonist Donny McCaslin, drummer Matt Wilson, trumpeter Lew Soloff, and others. His debut, Pathway, where Cook is joined by Matt Clohesy on bass and Mark Ferber on drums, features several originals and a solo piano take on Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday.” Listening to Pathway, you would never suspect Cook’s pop affiliations: this is a straight-up jazz effort. The opener, “The Thing,” has a mysterious, angular melody, and a 21st-century rhythmic groove that draws from funk more than swing. The band swings hard on the high-energy title cut, and brings a nice lyrical feeling to “Idly, Ideally” and “Lullabye.” Ferber is constantly active, throwing in a number of nice touches, and Clohesy prods and pushes effectively. Cook evokes Monk on “Fresh Remnants,” and other tracks hint at McCoy Tyner or Herbie Hancock. But he doesn’t overly rely on any one influence, and Pathway is an impressive first album.

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