Daily Archives: November 7, 2009

AT PLAY, WORKING HARD

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Randy Sandke

Photographer John Herr captured some fascinating portraits at the October 2009 concert of the Dick Hyman Sextet at Hamilton College, featuring Hyman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Nicki Parrott, Jackie Williams, Randy Sandke, and Evan Christopher — playing the music that they’ve practiced all their lives, working hard at it to make it seem marvelous and effortless.  The joy and the risk-taking are shown in their faces:

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Nicki Parrott

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Dick Hyman

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Jackie Williams

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Bucky Pizzarelli

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Evan Christopher

I can hear it now! 
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CHRIS DAWSON, SWING MASTER

I don’t use those words lightly.  If you’ve never heard Chris play, go immediately to the clip below:

Think of delicacy and intensity in every phrase, his sound, his touch, his chord voicings — the subtlety of a great jazz musician who knows how to get inside Arthur Schwartz’s beautiful melodies while keeping a strong pulse going.  

I first heard Chris on a CD some years back with Hal Smith’s Rhythmakers — and then on a Marty Grosz session.  And I said aloud, “Who the hell is that?!” in the fashion of someone making an astonishing, delightful discovery.  “That boy plays fine piano!” is what I imagine Thomas Waller saying.  Or Jimmy Rowles.  Or Barry Harris.

And here’s more — one of my favorite bouncing Twenties love songs — played by a phenomenal small band.  How about Dan Barrett and Hal Smith rocking with Chris?  And two players who are new to me — Denny Hardwick (guitar), and Christoph Luty (bass).   Hilarious and perfectly apt quotations by Dan, and a beat that no one could stop from Hal, Denny, and Christoph. 

And the best news is that this is part of a new CD to be released by Chris Dawson. 

Is it too unsubtle to write in italics — “I want this CD now.  Not later, but now”? 

Watch this space: I hope to have more news of Chris Dawson and his good works.  He’s GOT it, as you can hear. 

Category:  Music