Harold Danko

Fantasy Exit

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Trio dates are somewhat of a rarity for Harold Danko, but he makes the most of the opportunity on this 2002 session for Steeplechase. With bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Jeff Hirschfield, he chooses a wide range of jazz compositions, starting with a radically different, more free-flowing than usual approach to Randy Weston's "Hi Fly." Danko's arrangement of Jaki Byard's "Mrs. Parker of K.C." (first recorded by its composer on a date as a sideman with Eric Dolphy) adds many twists and turns to an already challenging work. On the other hand, he sticks closer to the beautiful melody of Mel Tormé's ballad "Born to be Blue," while proving that Gerry Mulligan's upbeat "Rocker" can be a successful vehicle without the presence of a horn. The leader's twisting post-bop original "Smoke House" is clearly inspired by Tadd Dameron's "Hot House" (which is in turn based on the chord changes to Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love?"). This highly recommended date is easily one of the best of Harold Danko's long career.

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