Richard Twardzik: I'll Remember April
I'll Remember April
Richard Twardzik (piano)
Russ Freeman / Richard Twardzik: Trio (Pacific Jazz: 46861)
Composed by Gene De Paul, Don Raye & Patricia Johnston.
Recorded: Hackensack, New Jersey, October 27, 1954
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Richard Twardzik would have been one of the most important jazz artists of the late 1950s and 1960s, had he lived longer. Instead he died in Paris at age 24, victim of a heroin overdose. His style was already fully developed, invigorating and iconoclastic, at the time of his death. No doubt he would have played differently had he survived, but it is hard to imagine Twardzik playing much better than he did on this 1954 session for the Pacific label. Now here comes the tritest blurb in the critic's lexicon, but I need to resort to it . . . . Twardzik was ahead of his time. It's a banality, but one struggles to find a more succinct way of describing this pianist's dramatic style. His textures, his brittle attack, his cyclonic bursts of energy, his chords thicker than a Manhattan musicians union directory . . . these all sound like the keyboard vocabulary of 1974 or 1984, not 1954. You can try to link him up with Monk or Brubeck or Tristano, and other artists of the era, but a true genealogy of his sources would probably take you to the thorny terrain of Stravinsky, Hindemith, Prokofiev, Schoenberg and other non-jazz influences. But the rhythmic excitement here is distinctly jazz-oriented -- check out how Twardzik handles trading fours at the conclusion of this track. A dynamic performance by an unheralded genius.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia