Feelin' Lucky


Dave Frishberg is best known as a songwriter, but You're A Lucky Guy (1978, Concord Jazz), in Concord's Digital catalog, showcases Frishberg's instrumental prowess as a pianist, and packs it into a surprising plenty of different styles and formats.

Frishberg rips through several two-fisted piano solos: "Cheerful Little Earful," which was Fats Waller's nickname, and "That Old Feeling," which feels like a rhythmic and melodic tornado. Two other tunes feature just his piano and vocals, the ironic title track and "Truckin'," a Dixieland blues that jumps with his beat crazy, period piano solo.

"Trav'lin' All Alone" seems oddly titled because it's a duet between piano and tenor sax by Al Cohn, who also breathes heady dreams into the bridge of "The Underdog," the set's most clever wordplay wondered aloud by Frishberg's reflective blues voice. Their piano-tenor ballad "If Dreams Come True" showcases his talent for accompaniment as well as improvisation. Frishberg leads a few ensemble numbers to round out the set.

Other titles in Frishberg's Concord catalog include the solo (piano with vocals) live recording Can't Take You Nowhere (1986, Fantasy), the essential songbook Classics ('91), and compilation Looking Good (2001, both Concord Jazz). And his songs seem to be everywhere. Rosemary Clooney included a Frishberg song on four different releases just between 1992 and 1995, and you can hear his tunes on John Pizzarelli's Telarc albums Let There Be Love (2000) and Knowing You (2005), and on Concord Jazz's 2004 Mel Tormé compilation Instant Party.

in this playlist.