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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke


Erroll Garner
Yesterdays . 1944-49
Naxos Jazz Legends 8.120528

Crotchet
 

  1. The Blue Room
  2. I'm in the Mood for Love
  3. Boogie Woogie Boogie
  4. Yesterdays
  5. Loot to Boot
  6. Indiana
  7. Stardust
  8. Laura
  9. Somebody Loves Me
  10. Frantonality
  11. Full Moon and Empty arms
  12. For You
  13. Memories of You
  14. Trio
  15. Pastel
  16. Penthouse Serenade
  17. Blue Lou

Erroll Garner - Piano with various versions of his Trio.
Bass - John Simmons (1to3 & 16), John Levy (6to9), Red Callender (10to15 & 17).
Drums - Harold 'Doc' West (1to3 & 14), Geo. De Paul (6to9), Nick Fatool (10 to 12) Lou Singer (13), Alvin Stoller (16), Jackie Mills (17).
Blue Lou has additionally, Wardell Gray - Tenor and Irving Ashby - Guitar.

Erroll Garner was one of the great jazz piano stylists that emerged in the 1940's, being self taught he was able to break all the rules, or maybe he just established some new ones of his own! He had a unique style, often imitated but never sounding as good as the original. A feature of his latter day concerts were long flowery cola voce introductions and it was interesting to watch the Bass player listening hard, because Erroll could play any tune in any key and frequently did!

The fascinating thing about this CD, which covers only a small amount of his output recorded in the period 1944 to 49, is how he develops as a trio player. In the earlier tracks the Bass player and Drummer are almost superfluous, this was a trend which continued and during later periods the Trio became a highly integrated unit. It is by track 6, 4&5 are Piano Solos that we hear the trio start to work as a unit. Track 6 is of course Indiana, a great jazz standard and this version has everything we associate with Erroll, chorus after chorus of inventive improvisation. Stardust and Laura repeat the dose but this time in Ballad format, Stardust being a Hoagy Carmichael tune, has the subtle chord changes that bring out the best in Erroll's performance. Frantonality seems to have more than a touch of 'Love Me or Leave Me' about it to me, but as he wrote Misty, his immortality as a songwriter is assured anyway. He has a good original called Trio as well; it has certainly stood the test of time well and sounds extremely fresh even now. Blue Lou has the great Tenor Sax stylist Wardell Gray on Tenor and Irving Ashby on Guitar, it gives us the opportunity to hear Erroll comping behind other players, something it appears he was good at, but a roll he was not often heard in.

If you are a Garner fan or you need an introduction to his work, this CD is very good value in many ways.

Don Mather

Don Mather is a Saxophone Player and Bandleader in Coventry



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