Denny Zeitlin: They Can't Take That Away From Me

This album marks Denny Zeitlin's first time playing with Buster Williams (b. 1942) and Al Foster (b. 1944). The results were so fruitful that Williams in particular has continued to work with Zeitlin for more than a decade.

Zeitlin's approach to standards typically involves reharmonization, and such is the case here. His interpretation of this Gershwin evergreen, though, goes beyond that. After playing the theme with Zeitlin, Williams and Foster lay out while the pianist plays a chorus that makes fleeting references to both stride and Art Tatum. The tempo then doubles, and the three leap into a double-time improvisation worthy of Bud Powell at his best.

All of this is done without a trace of pastiche. Zeitlin has always been an eclectic, and that quality has been borne out most of all in his approach to repertoire. Here he gives us a welcome insight into his pianistic roots.

June 14, 2009 · 0 comments


Billie Holiday (with Count Basie): They Can't Take That Away From Me

Count Basie featured three singers with his band on this June 30, 1937 live broadcast from Harlem's famous Savoy Ballroom. But Billie Holiday, only 22 years old, steals the show with this heartfelt performance of Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me." During this period, Holiday would make many of her most famous recordings, often in the company of Lester Young, who is also part of this edition of the Basie band. In time, Holiday's singing would become laced with a deep-set melancholy, and the vocalist herself seemed to take some pride in her public image as a downtrodden and heartbroken woman. Yet here she sings with pride and independence, proclaiming through the lyrics of the standard all the things they can't take away from her. This is one of Holiday's finest moments, and certainly one of her most upbeat.

February 11, 2008 · 0 comments


Anita O'Day: S'Wonderful / They Can't Take That Away From Me

"Swing you into bad health" is the ultimate jazz compliment. "Man, that drummer will swing you into bad health!" The reason bad health is prized above good health purportedly goes back to early 20th-century New Orleans, where admission to the St. James Infirmary gave a musician a leg up on gainful employment in the band that trailed the hearse bearing a patient whose Infirmary stay had ended unhappily. Anyhow, among 1950s vocalists nobody could swing you into bad health better (worse?) than Anita O'Day, ably assisted in her surgery by the eminent Doctors Gershwin and Consulting Professor Peterson.

November 19, 2007 · 0 comments


Joe Pass: They Can't Take That Away From Me

Even the finest jazz guitarists rarely record live and unaccompanied. First, standing alone on a nightclub stage—especially in Hollywood, where the audience is bound to include other guitarists, possibly topflight pros—is intimidating. Second, even if you've been assured all fellow guitarists will be barred at the door by brawny bouncers, flying solo demands serious chops. So, you ask, did Joe pass the test? You gotta be kidding! With consummate ease, the man swings everything: chords, basslines and single-note runs, all carrying the clarity, confidence and conviction of an undisputed master. Call off the bouncers. Artist at work.

November 08, 2007 · 0 comments


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