Uri Caine: Cheek to Cheek

Even if he does let us recognize bits of this evergreen, Uri Caine toys with it from the beginning with little regard for the melody. The piano dives into the improvisation process right away, and the rhythm team pushes him along with great vigor. When Caine finally slows down and lets Perowky solo, it comes as a welcome relief after more than five minutes of breathless virtuosity. This performance is obviously remarkable, but its 9-minute length and intensity are typical of what the listener can appreciate much better live than at home.

March 03, 2008 · 0 comments


Count Basie: Cheek to Cheek

Count Basie did not have a pleasant 1949. He'd already disbanded, put together a new group, and was scraping for gigs. As if that weren't enough, he was finishing out a contract with RCA Victor Records, an association which did neither the artist nor the label very much good. This edition of his band would finally disappear in August, and the Count would lead a wonderful small group for a time until he started yet another big band, this group more successful in many ways than the first. Even when work was not plentiful, he could still attract excellent musicians and make some nice records. While not a classic, "Cheek to Cheek" swings nicely and is perfect to dance to, boasting a colorful, bop-tinged arrangement which was probably made by Gerald Wilson. Solos are unconfirmed, but they sound like Edison, Wells and Gonsalves. And we get to hear the Count on celeste during the song's first chorus.

December 31, 2007 · 0 comments


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