What a pianist/musician!
John P. Perhonis | University Park, Maryland United States | 03/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is no need to say that Dick Hyman is an impeccable pre-bop piano player. His technique is flawless, his sense of voicing and arranging within a tune is masterful. He is widely respected among other jazz musicians, and rightly so. Furthermore, the Maybeck jazz series is one of the best series of jazz piano recordings made, if not the best. You should own every album in the series just because it is a Maybeck recording. However, that said, for jazz listening experience, Dick Hyman isn't my kind of jazz. He feels too much like he is playing ragtime through every piece. By this I mean his playing feels heavily arranged. It feels like he practiced much too much in his earlier days with the metronome. Where is the let loose careless devil-may-care attitude that marks the best of jazz solo playing? There needs to be the equivalent in pre-bop of what Bud Powell gave to bop -nervous passion and the push beyond the limits of technique. Hyman's technique drives his playing. It should be the other way around. Earl Hines had a fantastic technique, but there was no mistaken that it was in the service of the music he created, and, in this sense, Earl signaled what was to come. But even the great stride pianists had that intensity and let-loose quality. Hyman seems so controlled, so exact, so unexciting, because he always seems to know where he is going. This is mind over -- blood sense? I wish I liked him more because he is one hell of a pianist. For jazz listening, however, I would rather go to the real thing than the repertory of it. Many excellent and highly regarded jazz musicians have done more for musical education than for the music, which is saying a lot - I put Wynton Marsalis in this category as well as Dick Hyman. They have been central in acculturating jazz as repertory music --the latest, and I hope, not the last, form in which jazz gets known beyond the devotees. Ah, give me a little of the down-to-earth and blood-level swinging of Dave McKenna right now, if you know what I mean. McKenna did a Maybeck recording too, and so did Kenny Barron, Hank Jones, and Joanne Brackeen. Now that is my kind of jazz."
Master At Play...
Henry Mautner | Ludlow, KY, USA | 03/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Concord's decision in the early '90's to record in recital a wide array of the world's greatest jazz pianists was one of the greatest gifts ever bestowed upon the American public. All were recorded in the same venue for virtually the same group of listeners over the course of a number of years, and the sum total is an historic document that will enlighten and enthrall music lovers for generations to come.Of all of these great recordings, the most completely satisfying may be this performance by Dick Hyman, one of America's greatest musicians. Film composer, arranger, conductor, and historian of jazz and other forms of indigenous music, he is still most astonishing when seated at a keyboard and given the opportunity to "just play." Of course, he can't resist a "theme," and it's staggering to look at the list of great hit songs from 1937, all permanent standards in the repertoire. Hyman is the rare musician who has the technique to play absolutely anything he can think, and always thinks the extraordinary. Everything on this CD is wonderful, and it's marvelously recorded (there is audience noise, but it's not distracting). I am not a pianist myself, but this has already made my desert island short list. Buy it - you'll enjoy it forever."