John Hicks: Oblivion
John Hicks (piano)
Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Vol. 7 (Concord Jazz CCD-4442)
John Hicks (piano).
Composed by Bud Powell.
Recorded: Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, CA, August 1990
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Oblivion, says the dictionary, means being forgotten. Bud Powell's stunning original "Oblivion" (1951), though, was too good to meet that fate, as John Hicks's dazzling revival 40 years later attests. Taken at tempo furioso, Bud's "Oblivion" scarcely lasted two minutes, shorter even than early-'50s technology mandated. Yet Hicks, under no time limit, adds just 1½ minutes to Bud's 2, suggesting this piece isn't meant to be longer. The technique required is daunting, energy level draining, and concentration exhausting—but only for the performer. Listeners are exhilarated. In John Hicks's hands, "Oblivion" means never to be forgotten.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz