Kenny Drew

Kenny Drew and His Progressive Piano

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This compilation pairs two of pianist Kenny Drew's earliest record dates as a leader, both of which were issued by Norgran in the mid-'50s. For the most part, the music is rather easygoing, with an emphasis on ballads. With bassist Eugene Wright (who would join Dave Brubeck's classic quartet within a few years) and either Charles Wright or Lawrence Marable on drums, Drew mixes seven originals, a pair of standards, and a couple of long forgotten tunes. The rapid-fire treatment of "Fifty-Second Street Theme" (with some fine bass work) and the oft-center approach to "I'll Remember April" provide some variety from the generally laid-back sound of the CD. Also rewarding are Drew's two solos, both of which are ballads: the obscure "I Can Make You Love Me (If You'll Let Me)" and the venerable standard "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." The pianist's compositions are enjoyable, though not particularly memorable. Reissued on CD in Japan by Polygram in 1992, this disc is well worth acquiring for bop fans, providing they can find it.

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