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Garner - 20th Century One Man Band Pianist
Fabricio Monteagudo | USA | 01/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first album on this single was probably Garner's last solo piano recording, SOLILOQUY. It clearly demonstrates how much piano this "colossus among pygmies" could play. Check out the opener of the album, "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" a great Cole Porter standard. Garner is in brilliant form here with a great intro and infectious swing from the beginning. He also shows how well he commanded his dynamic levels in any performance; he was a master of musical dynamics and contrasts. Since he could not read a note of music, key modulations never bothered him. He modulates three times in this performance without fail and continues to strut along like mad. Another great performance is his dramatic and spellbinding version of "I Surrender, Dear revealing Garner's special brand of pianistic Impressionism. "Don't Take Your Love From Me" is a gorgeous ballad perhaps coupled with a rather outdated sentimentality but nevertheless played with much feeling and a stomping Ab minor blues romp "Soliloquy" illustrates so well Garner's love of his instrument and his sheer joy of producing a good groove. 4 stars
Sound quality is OK but nor great. Better remastering should have been done.
The second album begins with one of Garner's most exhilarating and heart-stopping tracks, an electrifying version of Juan Tizol's and Ellington's classic "Caravan". Other gems can be found here. "Avalon", a 1920s hit for Al Jolson, receives a most joyful and sprightly delivery from Mr.G. Jazz pianist Garner's version of "Lullaby of Birdland" has been described by jazz piano great George Shearing as his favorite version of
his most famous composition. As always, Garner inserts a few ballads. On this album, two old warhorses, "There is No Greater Love" and "Memories of You". "Will You Still Be Mine?" is a classic from the Tommy Dorsey recordings and is given a typically joyful ride by Mr.Garner to close the proceedings. A must have for Garner fans and jazz piano aficionados.