Teddy Wilson

A Jazz Hour with Gershwin, Ellington and More

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The last years of pianist Teddy Wilson's career were productive, fruitful, energetic, and active ones. This 14-track 1980 live concert setting showcases Wilson playing standards written by Duke Ellington and the brothers Gershwin, and they give the pianist excellent vehicles to strut his stuff. While in a trio setting with the relatively obscure bassist Layman Jackson and drummer Billy Daniels, Wilson is the centerpiece, playing solo for long stretches before his rhythm mates chime in. Many of the Gershwin features are extended medleys with multiple tunes strung together, Wilson playing fast and strong or delicate and light at the snap of two fingers. The Ellington material is closer to Wilson's true heart and all of it is rendered beautifully. As was his style, you hear quite a few stride inflections, blues, ballads, and some fleet boppish lines. Teddy Wilson was precious, and this recording -- one of the best in the Jazz Hour series -- shows why.

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