VOICES Notes and news on Digital releases
17 MAR 10 CHRIS SLAWECKI
If any musician would cast a shadow over a bebop piano album, you'd expect it to be Bud Powell or at least another piano player. Yet Piano: East/West (1956, OJC), which combines separate sessions led by bop pianists Hampton Hawes and Freddie Redd, rings out the profound rhythmic influence that bebop firebrand Charlie Parker had on subsequent jazz generations.
Hawes especially uses Parker's dynamic tricks, including beginning melodic lines a few beats early or slightly pausing on the first beat before unleashing scalding eighth- and sixteenth-note torrents of notes and emotion. Hawes' quartet tracks feature vibraphonist Larry Bunker, who often doubles the pianist's lines and takes just as many solos. Though Bunker swings momentously through "Fanfare," Hawes' beautiful unaccompanied first verse to "I'll Remember April" is the highlight of this set. It ends with vibes and piano swirling through Parker's typically twisted "Buzzy," a delicious title when coming from the pen of such a notoriously self-destructive indulger.
Redd played for decades, but recorded very little. His four tracks include hushed reflections on "The Things We Did Last Summer," the rhythm section barely a whisper behind his yearning piano; the fine "Lady J Blues"; and "Ready Freddie," funky piano bop from Horace Silver's neighborhood.
You can also enjoy Hawes' deep, moving collection of spirituals called The Sermon ('58), and his Bird Song tribute to Parker ('99, OJC); other opportunities to dig Redd are limited to his live 1957 date San Francisco Suite: For Jazz Trio.
Freddie Redd Trio, from Piano: East / West
I'll Remember April
Hampton Hawes, from Bird Song
Freddie Redd Trio, from San Francisco ...
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