Larry Fuller – Capri Records 74135-2, 60:38 [9/16/14] ****1/2:
(Larry Fuller – piano; Hassan Shakur – bass; Greg Hutchinson – drums)
The self-titled CD from pianist, Larry Fuller (his second under his own name) is simply marvelous. Fuller was the last pianist for Ray Brown, and has backed singer Ernestine Anderson, and guitarist, John Pizzarelli. It’s now time for Larry Fuller to step out into the limelight on his own.
His effortless command of swing and stride piano stylings on his latest CD is striking. Playing primarily standards, Fuller shows a polish that should help rise his standing to a national level. Whether it is the blues on Brown’s “Parking Lot Blues,” or church gospel of Oscar Peterson’s “Hymn to Freedom,” (look for a sterling contribution from mates Hassan Shakur and Greg Hutchinson, also on this track), Fuller is fully in command. He can dance all over the keyboard on Clifford Brown’s “Daahoud,” while caressing the keys using space expertly on Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.”
John Lewis’ well-known “Django” is taken as a bluesy stride. Larry shows his strength as an interpreter of Ellington on “Reflections in D/Prelude to a Kiss” done as a solo, while “C Jam Blues” gets a stride workout. The romanticism of Johnny Mandel’s “Close Enough for Love” falls under Fuller’s spell. Larry shows he is a pianist for all seasons and genres on Bud Powell’s bop tune, “Celia.”
For fans of swinging mainstream piano, Larry Fuller’s self-titled CD comes highly recommended.
TrackList: At Long Last Love, Parking Lot Blues, Daahoud, Both Sides Now, Django, Hymn to Freedom, Reflections in D/Prelude to a Kiss, C Jam Blues, Old Folks, Old Devil Moon, Close Enough for Love, Celia