Jazz The Marian McPartland Trio: ''Personal Choice.'' (Concord Jazz CJ-202.) Personnel: McPartland, piano; Jake Hanna, drums; Steve LaSpina, bass.
At first, this album seems like no more than a nicely relaxed session of good songs played by three musicians who enjoy each other's company. But closer and repeated listenings reveal unexpected, although subtle, twists and turns of rhythm and melody. McPartland is always exploring - trying songs she hasn't played before or finding new ways to play familiar ones. She gives a spirited treatment to Oscar Pettiford's ''Tricotism'' - a boppish line played in unison with LaSpina, which is a new tune in her repertoire. An up-tempo ''I'm Old-Fashioned'' is a refreshing change from the ballad treatment it usually gets , and neither LaSpina nor Hanna miss their cues when McPartland leads them through unannounced meter shifts, surprise accents, or any of the inventive directions her improvisations take. In addition to well-known standards such as ''Meditation'' and ''I Hear a Rhapsody,'' she includes two Harold Arlen songs - ''A Sleeping Bee'' and the lovely ballad ''When the Sun Comes Out,'' and her own ''Melancholy Mood.''