They used to play that way
James R. Mccall | Libertyville, IL USA | 11/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is old-fashioned New Orleans jazz, done by a trio of piano, drums, and clarinet. The recording was made at three informal sessions in the Bay area in 1956, and released in vinyl years ago. I suspect Don Ewell, Darnell Howard and Minor Hall are all dead and gone now, but their music still jumps. Just don't expect it to have been made day before yesterday (it was digitally remastered in 1995, though).Ewell has a few solo cuts on this album, and the rest are by the trio, which works very well for this music. As a soloist Ewell is, of course, a delight. And on the trio pieces, the drums, clarinet and piano are distinct, the lines are clean, and every tune swings. I prefer the trio's sound to a larger band's, but however you feel about that, if you like the old stuff, you will like this album."
Great Chamber Jazz
B. D. Tutt | London, UK. | 02/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don Ewell is one of the forgotten men of the traditional jazz revival. A magnificent pianist influenced by Jelly Roll Morton (listen to "South Street Strut"), James P. Johnson ("Parlor Social") and Earl Hines ("Monday Date"), much of his recording career was spent with sub-standard dixieland bands, and some of his best recordings are not yet on CD.This recording is one of the high points of Ewell's output. A mixture of piano solos and trio sides with Darnell Howard on clarinet, this gives a good overview of Ewell's driving yet controlled piano style. Listen to his fine solo performances of "I Can't Believe You're In Love With Me", which swings beautifully, and a thoughtful "Sqeeze Me".Darnell Howard is also tremendous on this album, playing with almost Bechet like intensity, particularly on his own composition, "Bush St. Scramble". His playing on this CD and the 1957 Don Ewell "Man Here Plays Fine Piano" CD were probably the best recorded performances of his career.This is a very enjoyable CD, showcasing two neglected talents at the height of their powers."