Earl Hines & Jonah Jones: Pennies from Heaven

The late career resurgence of pianist Earl Hines is one of the great stories of jazz. In his early 60s, Hines gave a series of recitals at the Little Theater in New York that brought him back into the limelight. Even as a young man, Earl had gone by the nickname 'Fatha' -- but by the time of this session (which took place a few months before his 70th birthday) he was old enough to be Great-Grand-Fatha Hines. He still shakes it up during his piano solo, tossing off those peculiar bursts of musical arrhythmia, characteristic of his work, that seem to defy the gravity of the ground beat. For a brief spell, this performance threatens to get down and dirty, but Tate (on clarinet here) and Jones seem content to toss out easygoing Dixieland licks. For my taste, I prefer my late vintage Hines without horns. Even so, there are some fine moments on this track.

May 09, 2008 · 0 comments


Stan Getz & Oscar Peterson: Pennies from Heaven

Every cloud has a copper lining, according to this Depression-era song: "Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven." The sentiment must've appealed to Depression's child Stan Getz, especially in 1957, the year this perennial poll-winner declared bankruptcy. Reporting liabilities of $42,398.59 against assets of $86.11, Getz proved a $70-a-day heroin habit can eviscerate even a $1,000 weekly income. Amazingly, his "personal problems" (the jazz press' favorite euphemism) never clouded his musicianship, which remained invariably sunny. This track, for instance (notwithstanding a flub towards the end), has Getz in all his glory, which is as glorious as glory gets.

December 07, 2007 · 1 comment


Clare Fischer: Lennie's Pennies

A wandering, unmeasured prelude morphs into a bristling rendition of cool jazz icon Lennie Tristano’s complex line over the chords of “Pennies from Heaven.” Altoist Gary Foster was the ideal horn man for the tune since his major influence was the alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, who had recorded the piece with Tristano himself. This was an early recording for bassist John Patitucci, whose explosive playing foreshadowed his subsequent star status. The woodwinds supply background phases from time to time, but it’s mainly a quartet performance.

October 28, 2007 · 0 comments


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