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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable CD from start to finish!,
What a wonderful surprise! Though this was recorded (mostly) live in the early 50's, the sound is very good.
McPartland mentions she would listen to everyone she could, such as "Duke and Basie and Bud Powell". Also mentions Brubeck, Shearing and Peterson. While she definately has her own style, you can here the influences of those she was listening to.
To give a couple of examples, "Liza" features a light, fast running style reminiscent of Oscar Peterson while "What is this thing called love?" sounds a lot like the Brubek trio featuring Brubek, Tjader and Crotty (what a wonderful trio that was!).
Two things I liked a lot about the CD were: 1) I knew almost all of the songs 2) She displayed a wonderful variety in the way the songs were played.
Elaborating a bit on the second point, McParland can play a very pleasing lyrical style, a "thick style" with blocked chords and complicated harmonies (like Shearing), a walking base/swinging style, as well as the styles mentioned above, and others as well. Evidently she was a very good listener and always interested in searching new paths. This CD was very enjoyable to listen to from start to finish.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An ideal example of Marian's early style,
By A Customer
This new release features the best recordings I've heard of Marian McPartland during her long residence at the Hickory House on West 52nd Street in New York City in the 1950s. While recorded in 1953 and before the arrival of bassist Bill Crow, the record does feature drummer Joe Morello. Both Crow and Morello appear on the 1999 Concord CD, "Reprise: Marian McPartland's Hickory House Trio."
The disk features 12 tunes recorded live at the Hickory House and in outstanding mono sound for 1953. The repertoire is almost entirely familiar standards, though she opts for two less obvious choices: "Aunt Hagar's Blues" and "Four Brothers." The sound mix reveals that Marian's tone and sense of harmony were already well developed. The disk concludes with five standards recorded in a New York studio during the same year and they push the running time to just about an hour. While the studio material is fine, I think the interest will be primarily in the live recordings.
The accompanying booklet features an essay by veteran jazz writer Bob Blumenthal that included an incisive recent interview with Marian and some vintage photos of the players during this period.
In short, this package is a better choice than the Savoy disk "In Concert" and the import London House disk if you want to hear what Marian McPartland's playing sounded like in the 1950s.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wonderful,
I've been a Marian McPartland fan for years because of Piano Jazz on NPR. I always wanted a Marian-only album. This one is just plain wonderful. It's romantic, it swings, it soars. Great for driving, great for listening after dinner, great for a party. Because of this album, I followed up with the Marian/Bill Evans CD which I would also recommend to anyone who likes those artists.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Show Stopper,
By A Customer
This is one of the most enjoyable CDs I have listened to in a long time. Marian McPartland really cooks on this album. I highly recommend this recording.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic, contained, and fun listening,
As an aspiring student of jazz piano I've searched long and hard for a recording of classic jazz standards that *didn't* dare to step outside of the bounds too much. I like the hard bop and innovative sound of the greats, but at this point I've been looking to develop a more fundamental sense of voicings, rhythms, and harmnonies in my playing and this CD has been absolutely perfect for that.
It sounds a bit Nordstrom-ish to me, maybe, but I like that. No ground breakers here, but some solid jazz that's great for listening or studying.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll add my 5 stars to the bunch,
What a delightful jazz album! This is better than her later album Twilight World which I bought before this one. I don't know alot about jazz in terms of its technical aspect. But I bought this album on the basis of the other reviews, all of which gave Marian a 5 stars and they were right. This is an older, and I think better jazz that keeps closer to the original melody throughout the development but at the same time is still creative and fresh. There is a freshness to this album. My favorite (right now, I may have another later) is Manhatten. But I must say right up there is Embraceable You (Gershwin). Some of these cuts are live by the way and they are superb. I am a "refugee" from Bill Evans in the sense that I have bought his albums almost exclusively and some of the later ones I do not care for. So I had to branch out. And I am glad that I found Marian.
5.0 out of 5 stars No equal!,
Marian McPartland and I go way back! I have loved her since I first heard her weekly on radio. There is no other jazz pianist that I know of who compares with her. She knows how to use the piano as no other musician. This is a first rate CD.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice!,
Wonderful album. Have heard her stuff on NPR for years and finally sprung for a CD. We will be buying more of her albums in the future.
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