Bertha Hope

Between Two Kings

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Bertha Hope may still be overshadowed by her more famous husband, Elmo Hope, but it is not because of the recordings that the pianist has put out since his death in 1967, such as this first-rate 1992 release. Joined by bassist Walter Booker Jr. and drummer Jimmy Cobb, this hard bop studio date has a lot to offer. The whimsically titled opener "Da la Senidras" (try reversing the spelling) is full of twists and turns, while her richly textured ballad "A Wise and Wonderful Book" doesn't refer to the Holy Bible but to the nickname of her bassist. Her relaxed approach to the standard "A Sleepin' Bee" is very refreshing. The only song written by her late husband on this session is "Something for Kenny," a somewhat exotic feature for Cobb. Her beautifully voiced solo interpretation of Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now" especially makes one wish she was recorded on a more frequent basis. This CD may be somewhat difficult to find, but it is very much worth the effort.

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