Oscar Peterson & Joe Pass: Just You, Just Me

The School of Velocity is in session, and our teachers are Professor Peterson and Professor Pass. You want to know how fast is fast? Well, you could time that bullet train in Japan. Or you could dig up some footage of Nolan Ryan's no-hitters. Here's a better idea: check out this live recording from Salle Pleyel. Horowitz played under this roof. Rubinstein did too. They had fast fingers, but could they swing hard and get all the syncopations just right at 400 beats per minute with the same relentless energy that this duo brings to their craft? Our esteemed pianist pulls out all the stops here, and demonstrates some breathtaking two-handed work that you rarely heard on his trio recordings. Any normal guitarist would back off in the face of this bravura keyboard work. But Pass never backed down from a race, and he keeps up the pace all the way to the finish line. You have to smile when you hear those final exchanges between pianist and guitarist, two masters now departed with no one to take their place. It's "Just You, Just Me" these speedsmiths declare, but who needs anyone else when Peterson and Pass are on stage?

October 01, 2008 · 0 comments


Bill Evans: Just You, Just Me

Bill Evans's idea for his 1963 Conversations With Myself sessions may have seemed like a perfect "concept" for this introspective artist. Instead of bringing in a band for the date, Evans would play multiple piano parts, blended together through the miracle of studio overdubbing. But what seems like a good idea in theory turns into an exercise in jazz solipsism. This track, like many of the other performances from this project, sounds too busy, and the thick textures of the over-layered piano parts negate two of Evans's greatest virtues: his use of space and the open, uncluttered clarity of his phrases. The song itself, a lilting Jazz Age standard from 1929, doesn't help. Its simple and bouncy attitudes are not a good fit with this deep and moody musician. If you want to hear Evans without a band, check out the Alone LP from 1968 or "Reflections in D" from his 1978 New Conversations release before dipping into this LP.

May 15, 2008 · 0 comments


Lester Young: Just You, Just Me

         Lester Young
Photo by Herb Snitzer

This track includes Slam Stewart's usual shtick—singing wordlessly in unison an octave above his bowed bass solo—which has the cartoonish appeal of Popeye serenading Olive Oyl during Symphony in Spinach (1948) by literally sawing on a bass fiddle. Everyone must hear Stewart's shtick at most once. The main attraction here, however, is Lester Young playing the tenor sax with his customary sublime nonchalance. On the cusp of 1944, Guarnieri's Teddy Wilson-style piano sounds dated, especially when he resorts to steady left-hand comping. And Catlett's drumming is likewise mired in the Swing Era. But Pres, angelically unconcerned, glides above it all.

November 09, 2007 · 0 comments


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