Dorothy Donegan at the Embers

Dorothy Donegan

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Dorothy Donegan at the Embers Review

by Scott Yanow

One of Dorothy Donegan's few early albums, this obscure LP (which finds her joined by Bill Pemberton or Oscar Pettiford on bass and drummer Charlie Smith, all of whom are unidentified) may look like a budget record but it features some exciting music. Donegan, whose piano technique was on the level of Art Tatum, rips through two originals and ten standards including "That Old Black Magic," "My Funny Valentine," "Humoresque" and "Lullaby of Birdland." The performances are all brief (clocking in around three minutes apiece) but there is no shortage of notes from the hyper pianist, who puts on a typically colorful show. This album (along with Dorothy Donegan's other early sets) is long overdue to be reissued on CD.