Debut Rarities, Vol. 5: New Piano Expressions

John Dennis

Debut Rarities Vol 5 New Piano Expressions
  • CAT # OJCCD-1843-25

    1. Ensenada 5:28
    2. Machajo 4:05
    3. Cherokee 4:20
    4. Seven Moons 4:06
    5. Seven Moons (Alternate Take) 4:21
    6. All The Things You Are (Take 1) 5:30
    7. All The Things You Are (Take 2) 4:15
    8. Cherokee (Alternate Take) 5:14
    9. Odyssey 4:18
    10. Chartreuse 3:53
    11. Variegations 6:33
    12. Someone To Watch Over Me 3:40

In a 1990 article by Gene Santoro, Jimmy Heath recalled that pianist John Dennis was nicknamed “Fat Genius” by Philadelphia musicians and Muhal Richard Abrams praised Dennis’s “full pianistic approach,” which blended a cocktail style with jazz and classical strains. The man in question is known primarily for two sessions recorded for Debut in 1955, The Fabulous Thad Jones (OJCCD-625-2) and this album, the extremely rare New Piano Expressions, featuring label co-owners Charles Mingus and Max Roach. The mere presence of this imposing rhythm sections puts Dennis in a rarefied realm that Bud Powell and Duke Ellington also inhabited; but it is the four solo tracks that give the best accounting of the pianist’s majestic two-handed approach, lyrical gifts for the blues (“Odyssey”) and ballads (“Chartreuse”), and rare balance of spontaneity and elegance (the totally improvised “Variegations”). Also included are four trio tracks that did not appear on the original album.

with Charles Mingus, Max Roach

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