The 13th installment in the massively comprehensive Classics Erroll Garner chronology opens with three eloquently rhapsodic unaccompanied piano solos he cut for the Recorded in Hollywood label in Los Angeles in February 1951, during one of his happy-go-lucky deviations from contractual commitments to a major company (in this case, Columbia Records). Six months later, bolstered by bassist John Simmons and drummer Rossiere "Shadow" Wilson, Garner dished up eight beautiful performances that either softly glow with a gentle languor ("Sophisticated Lady," "You're Blasé") or emit sparks of rambunctious merriment ("Margin for Erroll" and "Robbins Nest"). The interplay among the three men is a marvel to behold; the almost rascally flavor of "Ain't She Sweet?" is guaranteed to please. On January 3, 1952, this trio waxed another ten sides for Columbia, including two extended tracks -- four minutes each -- for issue on the new LP format. This slice of the Garner chronology is exceptionally satisfying, particularly on account of the presence of master percussionist Shadow Wilson. If you're looking for dignified, well-played piano jazz, warmly laid-back at times but regularly spiced with bursts of joyous invention, try this.
Classics 1951-1952 Review
by arwulf arwulf