41 tracks, everything piano great Erroll Garner recorded for Savoy, including 37 sides with his Trio and four with the Slam Stewart Quartet. These sessions date from the mid- to late '40s, about a decade before his best-selling Concert by the Sea album, but fans of his lyrical playing will hear his unmistakeable touch on standards like Star Dust; Laura; Body and Soul; Stompin' at the Savoy , and more.
Erroll Garner was only 23 when the earliest tracks on this two-CD collection were cut. Yet the pianist never exhibits tentativeness, regardless of the tune, the tempo, or the troupe he's working with. Dating from the winter of 1945 to the summer of 1949, these selections mark some of Garner's earliest professional efforts. You wouldn't know it by listening to his playing, however. With the exception of four tunes recorded while he was still a member of the Slam Stewart Quartet, Garner works in a trio setting here, essaying a selection of standards with a freshness that is utterly invigorating. Capable of being alternately playful or reflective (while resisting the temptation to be either coy or self-absorbed), the Pennsylvania-born virtuoso displays the breadth of his talents and tastes on back-to-back exhibitions such as the pensive yet crisp "A Cottage for Sale," followed by the jaunty, utterly delightful "This Can't Be Love." Given that the 41 tracks included here represent Garner's full Savoy output (alternate takes excepted), this collection is essential for fans of jazz piano. --Steven Stolder