Erroll Garner

Play Piano Play [Drive]

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This budget CD from 1998 has some great early music from pianist Erroll Garner, but it has its faults. Chief among those is the brief playing time, which only reaches a pitiful 33 minutes. When one considers that the music is drawn from two common Dial sessions and one originally cut for Vogue (this four-song session is fairly rare) and that four songs have been left out of the June 10, 1947 date, the brevity is somewhat inexcusable. The playing, however, is consistently brilliant, with Garner really romping on the uptempo pieces. All of the music is taken as unaccompanied solos except for two numbers in which he is assisted by bassist Red Callender and drummer Harold "Doc" West. The highlights include "Play Piano Play," "Fantasy On Frankie & Johnny," "Trio" and a reharmonized "What Is This Thing Called Love." Hopefully, the music will come out in a more coherent fashion in the future, but this inexpensive release can serve as a good introduction to early Erroll Garner.

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