Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ramsey Lewis & Billy Taylor - Wee Meet Again

This 1989 collaboration between two of the most noted piano players in jazz is a superb and moving tribute to many of their contemporaries (and slightly younger counterparts). No rhythm section is used on this album making WE MEET AGAIN a pianist's delight. Plenty of well-known jazz compositions are heard here including John Lewis' classic tune, "Django" and Bill Evans' beautiful "Waltz for Debby." In addition, we hear two compositions by Taylor, entitled "Somewhere Soon" and "Soul Sister." Finally, Danny Zeitlin's tune, "Quiet Now" (a favorite among many jazz pianists) is also represented here. All totaled, a nice cross section of modern jazz piano pieces makes up this release and both Lewis and Taylor shine on all nine tracks. Highlights include, Ellington's "I'm Just A Lucky so and So" and Chick Corea's "We Meet Again" which was written specifically for this recording. The solos on these tunes range from bluesy to bop, and the richness of the tone both musicians get on the piano makes this, as a whole, a very lovely release. Recording information: Master Sound Astoria Studios, Astoria, NY (1988-1989). Photographer: Don Hunstein. Unknown Contributor Role: Tim Geelan. Personnel: Ramsey Lewis (piano); Billy Taylor (piano). Liner Note Author: Billy Taylor . Stereo Review - Performance "Splendid" / Recording "Quite good" - from

Artist: Ramsey Lewis & Billy Taylor
Album: Wee Meet Again
Year: 1989
Label: CBS (1990)
Runtime: 56:19

1.  I'm Just a Lucky So and So (Duke Ellinghton) 4:37
2.  Django (John Lewis) 6:22
3.  Cookin' At The Continental (Horace Silver) 4:37
4.  Somewhere Soon (Billy Taylor) 5:42
5.  We Meet Again (Chick Corea) 7:42
6.  Quiet Now (Denny Zeitlin) 7:22
7.  Soul Sister (Billy Taylor) 5:17
8.  Waltz For Debby (Bill Evans) 6:55
9.  Nigerian Marketplace (Oscar Peterson) 7:42

Ramsey Lewis (Piano)
Billy Taylor (Piano)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Toots Thielemans - For My Lady

Picked up this CD at a performance the other night with Toots in a duo with pianist Kenny Werner. The incredible chemistry was breathtaking, so I was skeptical about this album, but after only a few listens, I believe it is just as soulful as the show. Shirley Horn's trio deliberately underplays the whole album, and the results are pure melody and feeling. Every song here is a winner. The one vocal song is great, and as usual, Toot's sole composition (the title cut) is an instant classic. Get this record, and go see the man, he is one of the last of the living will not be disappointed. - by A Customer,

The emphasis is on ballads for harmonica player Toots Thielemans' outing with the Shirley Horn Trio. Horn, in addition to contributing some tastefully supportive piano and occasional solos, takes a vocal on "Someone to Watch Over Me." Toots sounds quite relaxed performing 11 standards (only "Blues in the Closet" generates much heat) plus his original "For My Lady" with such comfortable backing. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Toots Thielemans w. Shiley Horn Trio
Album: For My Lady
Year: 1991
Label: Gitanes Jazz
Runtime: 57:35

1.  For My Lady (Toots Thielemans) 4:30
2.  How Long Has This Been Going On? (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 5:29
3.  Blues in the Closet (Oscar Pettiford) 4:11
4.  Someone to Watch Over Me (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin) 8:04
5.  I'm Beginning to See the Light (Harry James/Duke Ellington/Johnny Hodges/Don George)  4:37
6.  The More I See You (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon) 4:54
7.  The Mooche (Duke Ellington/Irving Mills) 4:00
8.  Close Your Eyes (Bernice Petkere) 4:37
9.  Blue and Sentimental (Count Basie/Jerry Livingston/Mack David) 3:29
10.  Corcovado (Antonio Carlos Jobim) 5:37
11.  Willow Weep for Me (Ann Ronell) 4:49
12.  Once in a While (Michael Edward/Bud Green)  3:18

Toots Thielemans (Harmonica, Guitar, Whistle)
Shirley Horn (Piano, Vocal)
Charles Ables (Bass Guitar)
Steve Williams (Drums)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dizzy Gillespie - Dizzy Gillespie & The Double Six of Paris

This is an absolute must have. Bud Powell on piano! Dizzy on the trumpet! Amazing!!! I've worn out my version since a friend of mine tuned me onto the Double Six in 1988. (And since then I've collected all their work.) NB: this is a studio album not a live album. The CD doesnt present the tunes as on the original LP; indeed the LP opens up with Ow! and its dynamics never fail to blow my wig off. (So I always start the CD at Ow! followed by The Champ.) Double Six have captured the essence of Dizzy's big band sound. Get a hold of the original Dizzy recordings from the forties (Ow!, The Champ, Emanon, etc) to really appreciate what is going on here. Dizzy is in fine shape and his solos are blazing. Bud is not given the spotlight but he still shines through. Nice bass work by Pierre Michelot. To be fair, the album is pretty short (under 40 mins if I am not mistaken). I am really picky, there are a couple of fillers: blue and boogie is okay, and oo-shoobee-doo-bee is rather fluffy. But the rest of the tunes are absolutely delightful. If you know french, listen closely to the sci-fi lyrics by Mimi Perrin who, IMHO, stands head-to-head with Jon Hendricks in the pantheon of the vocalese gods. Apparently Mimi and Dizzy found common ground in jazz as well as sci-fi. Five stars, no less, as one of the greatest vocalese albums ever. (The other one is probably Sing a Song of Basie by LHR but then again Dizzy in not on that one.) - by Eric,

This odd but successful pairing finds The Double Six of Paris singing vocalese in French to a dozen bebop classics associated with Dizzy Gillespie. Gillespie, with pianist Bud Powell and a rhythm section, take solos that uplift this date; two songs feature his quintet (with James Moody on alto). Not for all tastes, but this is a unique and colorful addition to Gillespie's discography. - by Scott Yanow, AMG

Artist: Dizzy Gillespie
Album: Dizzy Gillespie & The Double Six of Paris
Year: 1963
Label: Philips
Runtime: 39:24

1.  Emanon (Dizzy Gillespie/Milt Shaw) 3:48
2.  Anthropology (Dizzy Gillespie/Chales Parker/Walter Bishop) 2:48
3.  Tin Tin Deo (Chano Pozo/Walter Fuller) 4:18
4.  One Bass Hit (Dizzy Gillespie/Raymond Brown) 3:30
5.  Two Bass Hit (Dizzy Gillespie/John Lewis) 3:34
6.  Groovin' High (Dizzy Gillespie) 2:30
7.  Oo-Shoo-Be-Doo-Be (Joe Carroll/Billy Graham) 3:07
8.  Hot House (Tadd Dameron) 3:04
9.  Con Alma (Dizzy Gillespie) 3:39
10.  Blue 'n' Boogie (Frank Paparelli/Dizzy Gilespie) 3:10
11.  The Camp (Dizzy Gillespie) 3:09
12.  OW! (Dizzy Gillespie) 2:47

Dizzy Gillespie (Trumpet)
Bud Powell (Piano) - 1-6,8,10-12
Pierre Michelot (Double Bass) - 1-6,8,10-12
Kenny Clarke (Drums) - 1-6,8,10-12
Lalo Schifrin (Arranger) - 1-6,8,10-12
Mimi Perrin (Vocals) - 1-6,8,10-12
Claudine Barge (Vocals) - 1-6,8,10-12
Christiane Legrand (Vocals) - 1-6,8,10-12
Ward Swingle (Vocals) - 1-6,8,10-12
Robert Smart (Vocals) - 1-6,8,10-12
Eddy Louis (Vocals) - 1-6,8,10-12
Jean-Claude Briodin (Vocals) - 1-6,8,10-12
James Moody (Alto Saxophone) - 7,9
Kenny Barron (Piano) - 7,9
Chris White (Double Bass) - 7,9
Rudy Collins (Drums) - 7,9


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