Denny Zeitlin: All of You

The thickest piano chords come from the Windy City. You don't hear people talking about a Chicago School of Jazz Pianism (except for me, that is), but how else to account for those orchestral changes and radical reharmonizations from keyboardists who came of age in the chilling breezes off Lake Michigan. Just check out early Chicago-era Lennie Tristano, or Herbie Hancock or Chris Anderson or (little known) Billy Wallace . . . and, of course, Dr. Denny Zeitlin. Sometimes Denny will even construct a chord with more notes than his hand has fingers. (Pianists take note of those voicings with the thumb playing two notes simultaneously.) This 11-minute version of "All of You" could serve as a case study at Berklee. Lots of pianists change the changes, but few with such aplomb. It almost does a disservice to call them voicings; they are more like free-floating sound textures. Melodic and rhythmic possibilities expand in this alternate aural universe, and the result is a very fresh take on an old tune. Buster Williams is a master at navigating through this mist of harmonic indeterminacy, and Matt Wilson knows how to turbocharge a medium-slow standard without overwhelming it. A first-rate trio outing!

January 22, 2009 · 0 comments


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