Dick Hyman – House Of Pianos – Arbors

Dick Hyman – House Of Pianos – Arbors ARCD 19445, 58:24 ****:

(Dick Hyman – solo piano)

B00W9L59GI In the jazz music business today, is there a pianist with a more encyclopedic knowledge of all facets of the Great American Songbook and its jazz companions, than Dick Hyman? If there is, it is not evident. This delightful live recital by Hyman entitled House Of Pianos is a perfect testament not only to his musical erudition, but also to a mastery of the keyboard.

When Dick Hyman sat down at the piano for this concert, as he (Hyman) describes in the liner notes: “ I do not plan a sequence. I list a bunch of tunes I’ve been thinking about…. and sail into the program deciding from moment to moment what to play next”. This freedom gives the proceedings a certain broad stylistic framework from which Hyman can conduct his excursions. For example, the opening track is Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns” which is sensitively creative, despite the fact that the composition has become somewhat shopworn.

Hyman has never been known particularly as a Thelonious Monk aficionado, nevertheless he has included three of his compositions in this set. Starting with the redoubtable “Blue Monk” Hyman is observant and conscious of the intricacies of the composition. “Ugly Beauty” is constructed with Hyman’s strong technique and uncomplicated ideas on where the composition should end up. Finally “Misterioso” is as the name implies, something mysteriously cerebral, and is done is an intelligent unimpeded manner.

The final track is Billy Strayhorn’s “Take The ‘A’ Train” done in impeccable style with Hyman’s left hand offering a recurring pattern much in Dave McKenna fashion, all the while his right hand is in eloquent command of the frisky construct of the composition. All in all this album is an assured study of American keyboard music.

TrackList: Send In The Clowns; Sweet Georgia Brown; Yesterdays; Blue Monk; Ugly Beauty; Beat The Clock Theme; All The Things You Are; Theme From The Purple Rose Of Cairo; Misterioso; Take The ‘A’ Train

—Pierre  Giroux

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