Extraordinary Performance by an Extrarodinary Artist
Henry Mautner | Ludlow, KY, USA | 12/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In his seventh decade, virtuoso pianist/composer Dick Hyman is at the top of his - or anyone's - game musically and technically in this exceptional tribute to Duke Ellington. Hyman is that rare phenomenon - a complete, intelligent, and technically astounding musician - who serves the composer first but never forgets that among the composer's interests was to evoke an emotional response from his listeners. This Hyman does, and how. If this were an LP, I would have already worn out "Tonk," originally written by Ellington and Strayhorn to feature themselves as duo-pianists at parties, and played here by Hyman live and ALONE. Then again, there's the wonderful quasi-medley of "Echos of Harlem" and "Prelude To A Kiss," where Hyman cleverly interweaves the distinctive driving motive from the first tune into the second. And there are definitive performances of "Sophisticated Lady," "Drop Me Off in Harlem," "I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart" - it's all wonderful.Finally, the recorded sound is absolutely superb. The performances were preserved on a recording Boesendorfer piano, and then played back in an acoustically ideal recording environment. The end result is the spontaneity of a live performance with the sonics of an Uber-Studio. Whether you're a musician or sometime listener, an Ellington fanatic or jazz novice, you will not go wrong with this recording. Buy it and enjoy it."
One of my Desert Island Discs!!
chefdevergue | Spokane, WA United States | 10/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simply put, this is just a stellar CD, from beginning to end. There is not a track on here that disappoints. Every jazz pianist should listen to Hyman as he develops his thematic material, particularly on "Sophisticated Lady," "All Too Soon," "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart," "Echoes of Harlem," and "Day Dream." If you want dazzling piano technique, then check out Hyman's dexterity on "Jubilee Stomp" and especially "Tonk." Ellington & Strayhorn used to perform "Tonk" as a duo, and Hyman does it here single-handed...absolutely marvelous.I can't even begin to understand the technology that goes into the Bosendorger Reproducing Piano, but suffice it to say that the sound quality on this CD is as good as it gets.I have had this CD for 10 years and never get tired of it. It just is one the best CDs I have ever come across. I can't believe so few people have written reviews for it; it is a true gem which deserves more attention."