Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Buddy Defranco, Dave McKenna|
Do Nothing Till You Hear from Us
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Two living legends' last stand, with one of them still in fi
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 02/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though all three players are still with us, McKenna has been inactive for the better part of the new millenium while the octogenarian DeFranco has understandably cut way back on his playing activities. The guitarist on this 1999 date, Joel Cohn, is the son of the great tenor saxophonist Al Cohn. An active presence on the current New York scene, Cohn is equally effective in doubling DeFranco on the heads and in contributing tasteful and thoughtful solos. At the same time, McKenna is playing enough piano at this late date that I have to question the point of adding the third instrumentalist. Either make it a pure meeting of two giants, or open it up to at least a drummer and (with all due respect to McKenna's phenomenal left hand) a bass player.
DeFranco is still a virtuoso and a modernist, a clarinetist whose technique and ideas are set off to better advantage here than in the more manic sonic surroundings of Terry Gibbs. McKenna hardly qualifies as a "modernist,' but there are stories about God himself (Art Tatum) envying the pianist's ability to walk bass lines independently of his right-hand melodies. Since Buddy made sterling recordings with both Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson in the 1950s, it's quite appropriate (and fortunate) that he met up with McKenna.
The proceedings are highly musical and tasteful if a tad too polite and civil. Unfortunate, because DeFranco is playing with all of the old fire (dig his pyrotechnical clinic on "Out of Nowhere"), but McKenna is playing everything cautious and close to the vest, and Cohn knows his place. The session needed a Louis Bellson, Butch Miles, or Duffy Jackson to light a fire and kick some butt (my hunch is that McKenna could have risen to the occasion for one last time with a bit more "coaxing").
Strayhorn's "Something to Live For" may well be the highlight on the set, easily the best instrumental version I've heard of the tune (at least while the melody is under Buddy's care). For admirers of the clarinet, this recording is essential listening--a virtual clinic on jazz clarinet, whether ballads or burners."