Dick Hyman

Dick Hyman Plays Harold Arlen: Blues in the Night

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This CD is very much a piano recital, as Dick Hyman (on a set of unaccompanied solos) demonstrates his love for Harold Arlen's music. Nine of the fourteen selections that Hyman chose to record are very well-known, three are somewhat obscure and two are somewhere in between. The accent is on Art Tatum's style during some of the songs, along with a few snatches of Teddy Wilson's relaxed stride. Hyman reproduces the ease with which Tatum threw out impossible-to-play virtuosic runs, and (even more impressive) he hints constantly at Art's advanced harmonies without doing strict imitations. He gives a few of the songs unusual twists ("Stormy Weather" becomes a waltz, "Over the Rainbow" has a bossa nova rhythm, the last part of "A Woman's Prerogative" is played in two keys at once, etc.) but the melodies are never far away. Hyman also takes his first real vocal on record, doing a nice job on the lyrics of "In Your Own Quiet Way" with his obviously untrained voice. A fine outing.

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