Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
B. D. Tutt | London, UK. | 11/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An entertaining re-issue of two obscure albums, featuring stride pianists Cliff Jackson and Dick Wellstood. Tracks 1 -3 and 12 - 15 are drawn from the 1961 "Uptown and Lowdown" album from Prestige, and feature two very different bands. The first features "Dick Wellstood's Wallerites", which with typical Wellstoodian perversity, sounds nothing like Waller & his Rhythm. The Waller front-line of Herman Autrey and Gene Sedric is joined by Milt Hinton, Zutty Singleton and Wellstood on one Waller track and two Wellstood originals. All three have a solid mainstream sound. "Blook's Dues" is particularly effective.Tracks 12 - 15 feature Jackson leading a Clarence Williams - style ensemble, "Cliff Jackson's Washboard Wanderers" featuring Ed Allen, Rudy Powell, Elmer Snowden, Abe Bolar and Floyd Casey. Allen is a little weak at times, but Jackson and Casey drive the band along in fine style. This is joyous music.Tracks 4 - 11 constitute the re-issue of an extremely rare 1954 Riverside LP "The Stride Piano of Dick Wellstood". Wellstood is in strong form throughout, if not yet scaling the pianistic heights he would reach in the 1980s. His left hand is already producing interesting bass-lines, and he has the characteristic rhythmic tension between left and right hands that identifies top quality stride playing. Sympathetically accompanied by Jelly Roll Morton's old drummer, Tommy Benford, Wellstood demonstrates his mastery of the stride style, and in particular his indebtedness to James P. Johnson. The strongest track is "Old Fashioned Love", given a strongly swinging reading reminiscent of Johnson himself, with an occasional touch of Joe Sullivan. The other highlight is James P's little played "Toddlin' Home", which Wellstood endows with a number of typical Johnson phrases. Less at home on Waller's "Alligator Crawl", Wellstood romps through Tatum's "The Shout" and popular stride showpiece "Liza". Not Wellstood at his best, but well worth hearing.A welcome re-issue, recommended to all lovers of stride piano"