June 14, 2005

Album Review

Tommy Flanagan spent a good part of his career accompanying Ella Fitzgerald between 1965 and 1978, so few jazz fans had an idea how capable a pianist he was until he went out on his own in 1978. These previously unissued solo performances (recorded in Zurich in 1974) are a welcome addition to his discovery, mixing bop favorites with a few standards. The bop material includes a pair each of compositions by Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, along with an elegant treatment of Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma." But a problem came up in the assembly of this CD. Evidently another pianist's work, who has a definite Art Tatum influence, is heard on the last ten tracks, especially in "Caravan" (borrowing Tatum's heavy chords and striding left hand), "Just One of Those Things," and the playful "Willow Weep for Me." The spirited stride piano rendition of Earl Hines' "Rosetta," complete with chime-like chords, would have made both Tatum and Hines smile in approval, though this hardly sounds like Flanagan. The rollicking "St. Louis Blues," obviously inspired by Hines' famous "Boogie Woogie on the St. Louis Blues," is yet another twist. Storyville quietly removed Solo Piano from their catalog when the error was discovered, but the mystery of the second pianist's identity (possibly Adam Makowicz?) remains.
Ken Dryden, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Parisian Thoroughfare
  2. Wall
  3. Isn't It Romantic
  4. Sleepin' Bee
  5. Yesterdays
  6. Stompin' at the Savoy
  7. Strayhorn Medley: Passion Flower/Chelsea Bridge/Pretty Girl/U.M.M.G.
  8. Con Alma
  9. If You Could See Me Now
  10. Ruby My Dear
  11. Lover
  12. Rosetta
  13. Jitterbug Waltz
  14. Caravan
  15. Willow Weep for Me
  16. Just One of Those Things
  17. Poor Butterfly
  18. Well, You Needn't
  19. St. Louis Blues
  20. All the Things You Are