Roger Kellaway

Concord Duo Series, Vol. 1: Life's a Take

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To inaugurate Concord's duo series at the Maybeck Recital Hall, Carl Jefferson got the idea of pairing Roger Kellaway with Red Mitchell, who had played together now and then since the 1960s. The fascinating thing about the two is that Kellaway started his career as a bassist and Mitchell started his as a pianist, so naturally there is total empathy at work here, with Mitchell intertwining his instrument with Kellaway's piano as an equal melodic partner instead of a mere time keeper. With a bass player, and a rambunctious one at that, feeding him lines, Kellaway is looser and more apt to flash streaks of wit -- which "It's a Wonderful World" does in spades -- than on his Maybeck solo recital. His technique, as always, is dazzling, erudite, and all over the keyboard. Although of course no one suspected it at the time, this turned out to be Mitchell's last recording -- he died of a stroke less than six months later -- and his ironic musings about his jaunty self-penned title track, "Life's a take, and you only get one of them," make this session a bittersweet one.

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