John Coates Jr.

In the Open Space

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Even though John Coates' recording career has been somewhat erratic, there's nothing wrong with his recordings. The selections on this two-record set for Omnisound feature Coates as a solo pianist, and were taped over three separate evenings in December 1978 at the Deer Head Inn in rural Delaware Water Gap, PA. The program is wide ranging, from lyrical originals such as his "Expression of Hope" to standards played with gusto ("Love for Sale"), as well as overlooked gems (Harold Arlen's "Right As the Rain") and two widely contrasting jazz compositions unlikely to appear on the same album, Wilbur Sweatman's "Down Home Rag" and John Coltrane's "Impressions." Perhaps the most unusual track is a tasty reworking of Neil Diamond's 1970s hit "Song Sung Blue." Although a handful of the tracks have been reissued on the Pacific St. CD The Omnisound Years, serious jazz piano fans will want to track down the original LP set so they don't miss any of the rewarding performances within it.

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