Dick Twardzik was a promising young pianist who left an abbreviated recorded legacy due to his death from a heroin overdose in 1955 while touring Europe with Chet Baker. This Lone Hill Jazz CD compilation collects all of his known recordings as a leader or soloist, including a trio session that made up one side of a Pacific Jazz LP, along with a few informally recorded concert excerpts and rehearsals. On the Pacific Jazz material, he is joined by bassist Carson Smith and drummer Peter Littman. The intriguing "Albuquerque Social Swim" sounds like his ideas were developing parallel to those of Herbie Nichols (another fine pianist who died far too young without being sufficiently recorded). His sense of drama is apparent in his unaccompanied solo introduction to "Bess, You Is My Woman Now." The imaginative original "Yellow Tango" blends Latin rhythms with some adventurous chords and a bit of bop. His brilliant voicings within "'Round Midnight" and "I'll Remember April" seem very fresh when compared to the workmanlike offerings of many pianists in the decades that followed. The fidelity on the last dozen tracks is frustrating, due to the out of tune piano and the deteriorated condition of the source material, though it is interesting to hear Twardzik rehearsing for an upcoming album that was never recorded.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden