In this months edition of ” The Absolute Sound” (February 2011-issue 210, pages 120-121) there is an article called “New Jazz on Ten Fingers” by Jeff Wilson. Being a pianist myself, I was very interested in reading this article. First Jeff gets high marks for a very interesting and deep subject. Second, he gets high marks for introducing new solo jazz piano discs. I don’t want to nit pick his article, but I do want to add to this discussion.
Jeff makes the point that it seems that most jazz pianists only do solo recordings as a diversion. He also states that there are many jazz pianists that have never recorded a solo album. I could be wrong but it seemed to me there was an implication that maybe some of these pianists were reluctant to play solo while others excelled at it. What I believe is that many of them would have recorded solo works but record labels are concerned with how marketable solo piano is. Jeff’s reference to Keith Jarrett and the legendary LP “The Koln Concert” is great. Here is living proof that solo piano music has a market. Everybody went out and bought that record. It was hip. It was cool.
I ‘d really like to hear Lenny Tristano’s “The New Tristano” (1962 LP) and I will go on the hunt for it on vinyl. Also, McCoy Tyner’s “Solo”. Here are a couple of samples of the other discs Jeff discussed. First “Fred Hersch plays Jobim”
Next Vijay Iyer Solo:
The Piano is the ultimate instrument. It is really the only insturment that does not require any other accompanyment. In some ways it is kind of strange to discuss the uniqueness of solo piano performances. Beethoven would find it hilarious. Solo piano was the norm not the exception thoughout music history. To me there is nothing quite like seeing solo piano performances live. It is the acid test, the ultimate. I bet even the jazz pianist that never recorded solo work would have loved to release solo performances, but couldn’t get past the A&R man at record company. So here are a few nuggets from the past that did not get mentioned in Mr. Wilson’s article:
Bill Evans “Alone”.
No discussion of Jazz on Ten Fingers could be complete without the mention of the great Bill Evans. Here is the play list from this great LP:
1. Here’s That Rainy Day
2. A Time For Love
3. Midnight Mood
4. On A Clear Day4 On A Clear Day
5. Never Let Me Go
I wish I had room to upload “Never Let Me Go”. This is 14 minutes of magic. It rivals John Coltraine’s “My Favorite Things.” This is a must have Bill Evans Recording. Thank you to Jimmy Joe for my copy of this amazing LP!
Next: Teddy Wilson -Solo:
2. Just One Of Those Things
3. I Get A Kick Out Of You
4. I Love You
5. It’s All Right With Me
6. Love For Sale
7. Too Darn Blue
8. Blue Turning Grey Over You
9. Aint’ Cha’ Glad?
10. I’ve Got A Feeling I’m Falling
12. Black And Black
13. Ain’t Misbehavin’
14. Honeysuckle Rose
Last, check out Ellis Marsalis. (The Father of Winton Marsalis) He has some great Jazz solo piano discs. I really love the one he did of Duke Ellington songs. (Duke In Blue) This is a must have!
This only scratches the surface of solo jazz piano performances. What do you think? Any comments?