Reminiscing is an appropriate title for this 2000 session, which finds Jodie Christian doing exactly that -- reminiscing and looking back on his long career in music. Born in 1932, the Chicago-based pianist was in his late sixties when he recorded this hard bop/post-bop CD; the songs he selects are ones that meant a lot to him along the way. And in the liner notes, Christian explains why particular songs are important to him. He says that George & Ira Gershwin's "Embraceable You" was the first standard that he ever learned, and that Antonio Carlos Jobim's "How Insensitive" became a part of his repertoire after he heard fellow pianist Ahmad Jamal playing the Brazilian gem. "Morning Star" is a song that Christian learned from vibist Emmanuel Cranshaw, while "Love Walked In" and "It's Good to Have You Near" are songs that he discovered on Andre Previn's Right Is the Rain LP. It's important to stress that even though Christian (who is joined by bassist Dennis Carroll and drummer Tony Walton) acknowledges various musicians that he admired along the way, he never goes out of his way to emulate any of them. The pianist always sounds like his own man, which means that he doesn't play "How Insensitive" exactly like Jamal or "Love Walked In" exactly like Previn. Christian's interpretation of "How Insensitive," in fact, is quite unusual -- a melancholy standard that is usually played at a slow or medium tempo becomes fast and exuberant in Christian's swinging hands. Reminiscing is a musical autobiography that the Chicagoan can easily be proud of.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson