From the start of this CD, a very spirited version of Lionel Hampton's "Boogie Woogie" (here renamed "Boogie #427), through a set full of boogie-woogie piano (even on non-blues tunes), blues ballads, and New Orleans-style R&B, this is a delightful outing. Kevin McKendree's piano style mixes together boogie-woogie, Ramsey Lewis, and Ray Bryant without sounding like a copy of any of them. He and drummer Big Joe Maher (who recalls Ray Charles and Charles Brown) each take two vocals, including one apiece with the backing of a tasteful three-voice vocal section. The other players are fine, but it is McKendree's piano (occasionally augmented by organ) that keeps the excitement really going. Highlights include a laid-back "Let's Get Go Stoned," "Just Before Sunrise," "Fool's Paradise," and "Sixty Sharp Knives." This accessible outing is well worth checking out.
Reissue with SHM-CD format and new 24bit remastering. A very special album from Johnny Smith – one of the few to feature his sublime guitar sound amidst a larger string setting – which only seems to emphasize the moodier, darker tones of his instrument! The album's a lot like his My Dear Little Sweetheart set – and, like that one, it features help from conductor Irv Kostal, as well as violinist Gene Orloff – both artists with the right sort of subtle, understated approach to make sure that Johnny's six strings never get lost in the larger swirl! Most tunes are very slow-moving, which allows us to hear that Smith guitar magic in full relief – that special way that Johnny had of choosing just the right notes and colors, in just the right way.
10 CD box set comprised of all the classic's by the masters of strings; Yehudi Menuhin, Bronislaw Heberman, George Enescu, Joseph Szigeti, Nathan Milstein, Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Kreisler, Ida Haendel, David Oistrakh & Isaac Stern.
Pianist Al Haig, a veteran of the bebop era, plays pretty modern on this quartet date which is co-led by guitarist Jimmy Raney. With backing by bassist Jamil Nasser and drummer Frank Gant, Haig and Raney interpret two bop standards and such later material as Herbie Hancock's "Dolphin Dance" and Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance." Haig and Raney inspire each other to stretch out, including on an 11-minute version of "'Round Midnight." Thought-provoking music well worth hearing several times.