Joanne Brackeen: Thou Swell
Joanne Brackeen (piano)
Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 1 (Concord Jazz CCD-4409)
Joanne Brackeen (piano).
Composed by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart.
Recorded: Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, CA, June 1989
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
The first female flower (1969-1972) in that hothouse of testosterone, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, also won pride of place in the Maybeck Recital Hall series. To a song from Broadway's A Connecticut Yankee (1927), with dances staged originally by no less than Busby Berkeley, Brackeen applies her own gift for kaleidoscopic formation, deploying all 88 piano keys as if they were lithe chorus girls in skimpy costumes, arranging their black-&-white curvilinear motifs into quickly dissolving geometric designs observed from bird's-eye view. Yet despite her impressive choreography, Brackeen is no showoff, deferring to the melody, respectfully reharmonizing and swinging throughout. First in show.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz