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Review

High standards in a slapdash collection

Although the standard of this collection is high and the artists are top-drawer, its sub-title is somewhat misleading


After Hours
18 of the best piano standards

Polygram
Rs 125

This is one of a series of albums, each an anthology around a theme featuring various artists. Although the standard of this collection is high and the artists are top-drawer, its sub-title is somewhat misleading. In some numbers the featured pianist is not named because he/she happens to differ from the leader in whose name the record was issued. And in a few numbers the pianist is not the most prominent artist.

With that last criterion as the touchstone of a piano standard meriting inclusion in the collection, Bud Powell obviously qualifies with the opening be-bop number, Tempus fugit. And how! So does Bill Evans with Bemsha swing (in which he plays against himself, two recordings overdubbed). But the nimble-fingered genius of Art Tatum on Love for sale is arguably the highlight of the album.

Others who walk into the collection with no questions asked: the melodic variations of Erroll Garner (Is you is or is you ain't my baby), the emotional expressiveness of Ray Bryant (Swingin' the blues), the light be-bop touch of Tommy Flanagan (Oh lady be good), and George Shearing (September in the rain) mixing simple execution of the theme with complex improvisations.

Many of other numbers, good examples of jazz comprising good piano-playing, are not primarily piano jazz and are to that extent misplaced in this album.

Jazzebel


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