Erroll Garner: I'll Remember April


I'll Remember April


Erroll Garner (piano)


Concert by the Sea (Columbia 9821)

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Erroll Garner (piano), Eddie Calhoun (bass), Denzil Best (drums).

Composed by Gene De Paul, Don Raye & Patricia Johnston


Recorded: Carmel, September 19, 1955


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

Erroll Garner's Concert by the Sea was one of the most popular piano trio albums of the era, and was also heard widely in later years as a "Nice Price" reissue. But Garner seems to have fallen from favor in the last decade or so. His influence is all but undetectable among the younger generation of pianists. What a shame. This elfin artist possessed one of most felicitous keyboard styles in the annals of jazz, distinguished by delightful dynamic shifts, clever left hand devices and a boisterous sense of swing. This opening track from the famous live date is a fine introduction to Garner's work. He starts with one of those non sequitur piano intros, meandering mini-epics that have no apparent relation to the song they kick off -- another Garner trademark; but when he gets into a groove, he is as unstoppable as a runaway locomotive. Every once in a while, he drops a left-hand chord that explodes off the beat, a pianistic equivalent of an Art Blakey bomb. But he is just as likely to pound those chords out four to a bar. Above all, his solos capture an upbeat, lighthearted attitude that was uncharacteristic of mid-1950s jazz, but which still has its appeal today. My only gripe here is the sound quality, which is sub-par even by Eisenhower-era standards. Still, this is a classic date, and one that every jazz fan should hear.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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