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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Swinging on a Star

Candid CCS 79107



1. A Fine Romance
2. Alley Blues
3. I Thought about You
4. Autumn Leaves
5. Swinging on a Star
6. Azul Serape
7. Liebestraum
8. Too Blue
9. In Your Own Sweet Way
10. Fly Me to the Moon
11. Basin Street Blues

Victor Feldman - Piano, vibes
Rick Laird - Bass
Ronnie Stephenson - Drums


I remember when the young Victor Feldman was hailed as a child prodigy in the early 1940s for his prodigious work playing the drums. Later he became more famous as a pianist, although he also played the vibraphone. He found enduring fame when he emigrated to America.

All these recordings were taped by Les Tomkins at the Ronnie Scott club in February 1965 on one of Victor Feldman's returns to his home country. The recording quality tends to be rather primitive but the trio's masterly performances generally make you overlook the imperfections in the sound. Yet In Your Own Sweet Way sounds very fuzzy.

Victor's abilities as a pianist are illustrated on the opening A Fine Romance, where his solo exhibits plenty of chordal ingenuity. His versatility is shown in his vibes solo on I Thought about You. Unfortunately the poor-quality sound mars Autumn Leaves and the title-track.

Having been a drummer, Victor knows a good drummer when he hears one: hence he uses Ronnie Stephenson on all these recordings. Note, for example, Ronnie's vibrant drumming on the Latin-American Azul Serape, a Feldman original. Feldman also composed Too Blue, a bouncy blues on which Victor plays the vibes, including some nifty chords. If I had to compare him to another vibes player, I would pick Milt Jackson - another vibist with a feeling for the blues.

The trio starts Fly Me to the Moon as a jaunty waltz before going into four-four, and Rick Laird supplies a good solo before Victor switches from piano to vibes, the latter instrument sounding rather tinny on this recording. Basin Street Blues is taken very slowly, although the tempo is occasionally switched to fast waltz time. The sound is blurred and the track fades out before the end.

Tony Augarde

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