Richard Twardzik: Just One of Those Things


Just One of Those Things



Russ Freeman / Richard Twardzik: Trio (Pacific Jazz: 46861)

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Richard Twardzik (piano), Carson Smith (bass), Peter Littman (drums).

Composed by Cole Porter


Recorded: Hackensack, New Jersey, October 27, 1954


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

Back in 1954, pianist Richard Twardzik was an unusual artist for Pacific, Richard Bock's boutique label focusing on West Coast jazz. Twardzik was a little-known Bostonian with an avant-garde sensibility, far removed from the cool stylings of Bock's usual releases. But based on a glowing recommendation from Russ Freeman, Bock gave the go-ahead for a session featuring a pianist he had never heard. Thank goodness! This would prove to be Twardzik's only leader date in a commercial studio session - he would die from a drug overdose the following year - and the results rank among the most spectacular jazz trio work of the era. The pianist takes Cole Porter's standard at a fast clip. Although one can hear his debt to Bud Powell (and probably his close listening to Powell's veering-out-of-control February 1951 recording of this same standard), Twardzik's lines construct odd patterns across the barlines in a manner beyond Powell's typical bop semantics. No gossamer wings on this track: instead hear the teeter-totter construction at the 1:20 mark in the right hand, and another pattern to the stars, at 1:35, now in the left hand. Along the way, he tosses out Americana quotes (John Philip Sousa and Ringling Brothers), proving that jazzistas can wave the flag at any tempo. The coda lands with all of the subtlety of a hand grenade. One of those crazy things.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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