Zoot Sims and Oscar Peterson: The Man I Love

Here we have another Gershwin tune that has been recorded hundreds of times. But when a tune is that good and you have master musicians moving each other to make a great recording, the result is a fine addition to recorded jazz. That certainly is the case here.

It starts with that magnificent maestro of jazz piano, Oscar Peterson, playing simply sparkling lines that introduce the tune; that opening piano work is so good, you'll want to play this intro again. We are then treated to about six minutes of Zoot playing exceptionally fine variations and embellishments on the theme with great verve, dynamics and tone, adding excellent accents, with superb support by the others. After several choruses, Joe Pass then takes a solo, matching Sims with creativity and verve, though with more modest dynamics. Then Peterson gives us some more of that sparkling piano work, before Zoot takes it out.

This quintet plays so beautifully together, one would think they had toured as a group for years. Led by Zoot Sims, they produce a marvelous extended exploration of this Gershwin music and the artistic possibilities of the tenor sax.

April 16, 2009 · 0 comments


Coleman Hawkins: The Man I Love

Nearly everyone hearing this track for the first time would likely become a lifelong Hawkins fan and admirer, if not already so. Less celebrated than his 1939 "Body and Soul," it is still one of Hawk's best recorded performances, and a prime example of his greatness and why he influenced countless jazz saxophonists. Heywood's infectious, sprightly extended piano intro, followed by Pettiford's deeply intoned, expressive bass solo accompanied by his own vocalized gasps, are both mere preambles to Hawkins's riveting solo that encompasses the entire remainder of the piece. (Who could follow this?) Hawkins commences at a deceptively even keel, unwaveringly on the beat. Soon he begins to break up his rhythmic patterns and raise the dynamic level, his tone becoming gruffer and more emphatic. His riff-like phrases are interspersed with contrasting arpeggios as he progresses towards his logical and satisfying resolution that completes a perfectly structured and executed statement.

March 11, 2008 · 0 comments


Sophie Milman: The Man I Love

When Sophie Milman recorded it, "The Man I Love" was, at 80, antique enough to have been an oldie in her grandparents' day. Hope, however, springs eternal in a Gershwin song, and Milman's confidence about, in her words, "the waiting, searching and yearning for that one relationship" shines clear—fleeting though it may be. At Milman's tender age, singer Nancy King likewise saw hope; but as she matured, "the song took on tragic dimensions, deep longing for something lost or missed." While such hard-won wisdom of elders is indispensable, so is youthful optimism. Searchingly, yearningly, Sophie Milman balances the scales.

December 10, 2007 · 0 comments


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