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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



 

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‘I was there’

Roger Kellaway plays from the Bobby Darin songbook

ipo-IPOC 1006

 

  1. Beyond the Sea
  2. Charade
  3. My Buddy
  4. Just in Time
  5. When I look in Your Eyes
  6. The Shadow of Your Smile
  7. I Was There
  8. I’m Beginning to See the Light
  9. A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
  10. When Your Lover has Gone
  11. That’s All
  12. My Funny Valentine
  13. All By Myself
  14. Something in Your Smile

Roger Kellaway – Concert Grand Piano

Recorded –September 28-30 2004 at The American Academy of Arts and Letters. New York

Roger Kellaway has done just about everything a Pianist/Composer could do, from being a comedian’s accompanist to being a composer of orchestral works for the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras. He has also worked with very many of the jazz ‘greats’ including Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins and Quincy Jones, to a say nothing of singers like Joni Mitchell and Natalie Cole. He also has some 25-film scores to his credit, including ‘A Star is Born’, the Barbara Streisand film. He also spent some years as Musical Director for Bobby Darin and it is from that period that he drew the inspiration for this solo album.

Every track on this CD is a gem, but some are stunning. His complete mastery of the piano shines through everything he plays and makes his work absolutely timeless. He draws from all of his amazing breadth of experience to produce an album of superb quality, which is easy to listen to and at the same time very stimulating, He has a technique to rival Oscar Peterson or Andre Previn, but the listener is always aware of how the improvisations relate to the tune.

The tunes are mostly very well known, but they make ideal material to show off Rogers skills, his own composition ‘I was There’, sits comfortably with those of Mancini, Kahn, Bricusse, Hart and Berlin and others.

Rogers performance here is perfection, I suspect that in the future this CD is destined to become one of the definitive, solo piano albums. There is no attempt by him to use technique for techniques sake, although the introduction to My Funny Valentine is complex, the theme is stated simply and beautifully. The album gets off to a wonderful start with Rogers interpretation of Beyond the Sea, there is a terrific rolling bass in the second chorus, it gives you the impression that he has more than two hands! Charade is played with great charm and has an ending Oscar Peterson would have been proud of. Another favourite track for me is The Shadow of Your Smile. All By Myself has him in jaunty mood on this Irving Berlin standard, another superb performance. Something in Your Smile has a vocal from Roger, who has a pleasant voice, but I would suggest that it is his superb piano playing that this album will be remembered for.

I recommend this album to anyone who likes to hear the piano played by a master (and who doesn’t). It will I am sure become one of the great solo piano albums, which will easily stand the test of time.

Don Mather

 



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