Bob Florence

Friends, Treasures, Heroes

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Bob Florence is known primarily as a bandleader, composer/arranger, and jazz educator, so his occasional solo piano dates are an added bonus. During this session, he salutes various musicians and singers with whom he has worked, along with a number of composers or players whose work he appreciates. Florence segues from one song (or a medley of songs) to the next by utilizing interludes improvised from excerpts of "Just Friends" and "Wind Beneath My Wings," resulting in a stunning, beautiful suite. Florence wrote and performed the haunting "My Sunshine Connection" for trumpeter Ingrid Jensen's wedding, while his original "Jools" (a marvelous, lush ballad honoring Julie Andrews, who Florence accompanied on a number of tours) is combined in a medley with a dreamy interpretation of "Come Rain or Come Shine." The pairing of Bronislaw Kaper's "Invitation" and "On Green Dolphin Street" within a medley is a bit unusual, but even more so are Florence's slow, introspective arrangements of these pieces. At times, his scoring of "Invitation" seems to show the influence of Erik Satie, while he eschews the rapid-fire tempos preferred by many pianists for "On Green Dolphin Street." This beautifully crafted recording is easily one of Bob Florence's greatest achievements.

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