Chris Ziemba, Manhattan Lullaby (Outside in Music)
His abilities honed by studies at the Eastman School of Music and Juilliard, 29-year-old pianist Chris Ziemba is in demand on the New York scene. His debut recording as a leader discloses a varied compositional sense and a canny choice of sidemen. Ziemba, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Jimmy MacBride are a keenly interactive trio. Michael Thomas joins them on alto saxophone for Ziemba’s evocative “The Road Less Traveled” and his boppish “Little T,” and on bass clarinet in the reflective title tune. “Escher’s Loops” seems to concern itself with symmetrical aspects of the work of the Dutch artist M.C. Escher. Ziemba’s keyboard touch and harmonies support the concept. The only piece not by Ziemba is Harry Warren’s 1945 classic “I Wish I Knew.” Ziemba’s arrangement incorporates a bass line leading to a solo in which Glawischnig is simultaneously incisive and relaxed.