The Great Jazz Trio

Flowers for Lady Day

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When you name your group the Great Jazz Trio, you generally run the risk of being called arrogant and had better have a lot to back it up. But if your trio consists of pianist Hank Jones, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist George Mraz, that name isn't an example of arrogance or conceit -- it's a statement of fact. Forming a very cohesive trio, Jones, Haynes, and Mraz pay tribute to Billie Holiday on Flowers for Lady Day. This 1991 session finds the veteran improvisers embracing mostly songs that Holiday recorded, including "Lover Man" and "Don't Explain" -- both of which she defined. However, you won't hear "Gloomy Sunday," "My Man," "Good Morning, Heartache," "Strange Fruit," or "God Bless the Child" on this CD -- most of the other songs are standards that Holiday recorded but didn't necessarily define. "I'm A Fool to Want You," for example, was defined by Frank Sinatra -- and while Lady Day recorded a superb hit version of "Easy Living" in 1937, her version wasn't the only famous one. Nonetheless, the Great Jazz Trio's affection for Holiday's legacy comes through loud and clear. Post-swing pianism doesn't get much more lyrical and melodic than Jones, and his interpretations of melodies that Holiday embraced are every bit as rewarding as one would expect. Flowers for Lady Day is easily recommended to Holiday and Jones fans alike.

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