John Lewis: Love Me or Leave Me
Love Me or Leave Me
John Lewis (piano)
Grand Encounter: 2 Degrees East – 3 Degrees West (Pacific Jazz TOCJ-6115)
Composed by Walter Donaldson & Gus Kahn.
Recorded: Los Angeles, February 10, 1956
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
How would two East Coasters (the MJQ's Lewis & Heath) match up with three West Coast jazzmen? Perfectly, thanks to most of them having Lester Young in common. Tenorman Bill Perkins was a Pres disciple, Hamilton gigged with Young in 1946, and Lewis was Lester’s early-1950s accompanist. No surprise they resurrect the laid-back swing exemplified by Pres's 1938 Kansas City Six. Bassist Heath even plays slightly on top of the beat à la rhythm guitarist Freddie Green, and Chico gets in some passable Papa Jo Jones licks near the end. Here are modernists affectionately in touch with their roots.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz