Roger Kellaway & Eddie Daniels – Duke at the Roadhouse [TrackList follows] – IPO [Distr. by Allegro] *****:
(Roger Kellaway, piano; Eddie Daniels, clarinet & tenor sax; James Holland, cello)
George Shearing at Home [TrackList follows] – JazzKnight Records JKR001 *****:
(George Shearing, piano; Don Thompson, doublebass)
Composer/arranger/pianist Roger Kellaway has been one of my personal favorites ever since his two wonderful Cello Quartet LPs of the 1970s. He wrote the closing theme for TV’s All In the Family, and has recorded with Lena Horne, Elvis, Joni Mitchell, Oliver Nelson, Thad Jones, Van Morrison, Henry Mancini and Red Mitchell, among others.
Kellaway has performed and recorded before with versatile reedman Eddie Daniels. This CD was recorded at a benefit concert for the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding, and it features eight songs by the great Duke Ellington, plus one each by the two artists, inspired by the Duke. The one from Daniels is also the title tune of the album. The genuine Ellington tunes may be mostly familiar ones, such as “In a Mellow Tone,” but the treatments that the two superb musicians provide for them are anything but ordinary. “In a Sentimental Mood” gets a large-scale production, coming in at over nine minutes. The live concert situation adds a bit of excitement to the album, and the fidelity doesn’t suffer a bit as a result. The cello adds an occasional nice bit of instrumental color and made me think of the Cello Quartet recordings.
TrackList:1 I’m Beginning to See the Light Duke Ellington / Johnny Hodges 7:07 2 Creole Love Call Duke Ellington 4:33 3 Perdido H.J. Lengsfelder / Juan Tizol 7:35 4 Duke at the Roadhouse Eddie Daniels 3:24 5 In a Mellow Tone Duke Ellington 6:22 6 In a Sentimental Mood Duke Ellington / Irving Mills 9:11 7 Sophisticated Lady Duke Ellington / Irving Mills 5:29 8 Duke in Ojai Roger Kellaway 4:49 9 Mood Indigo Barney Bigard / Duke Ellington / Irving Mills 2:41 10 It Don’t Mean a Thing Duke Ellington / Irving Mills 5:19
Don Thompson, Shearing’s frequent bassist, listened again to these 1983 tapes shortly after the composer-pianist’s death. They had been recorded in Shearing’s home in New York during a six-week period, under no pressures—just Shearing playing his own piano in his own home. Four of the 14 tracks are actually totally solo, without Thompson. The two had spent their afternoons sipping tea and just taking it easy. The only thing on Shearing’s mind was making some beautiful music. And he did. His harmonic elegance and witty harmonizations are here at some high levels.
Shearing didn’t do any of his own compositions, such as “Lullaby of Birdland,” but he chose one original by Thompson, and others by such as Johnny Mandel, David Raksin, Charlie Parker, Lee Konitz and Victor Young.
While Shearing wasn’t a flashy sort of jazz pianist, he does some surprising turns in these often-familiar tunes, and the swinging feeling is always there. Sonics are completely acceptable too. A delightful album.
3. Ghoti 4. The Things We Did Last Summer 5. Laura 6. The Skye Boat Song 7. Confirmation 8. The Girl Next Door 9. Can’t We Be Friends? 10. I Cover The Waterfront 11. Out Of Nowhere 12. That Old Devil Called Love 13. SubconsciousLee
14. Beautiful Love