Jimmy Rowles

Isfahan

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Jimmy Rowles is heard with bassist George Mraz on this duo session from 1978, exploring a typical mix of favorite standards and overlooked gems. Rowles' gravelly vocals prove quite charming in the sincere "How Deep Is the Ocean," where his piano initially stays more in the background as Mraz steps forward to back him, while Rowles wrote his own lyrics to Billy Strayhorn's "Isfahan." The bassist introduces "Caravan" with a "Bolero"-like vamp before the pianist re-routes it into a jaunty, boppish setting of this familiar theme. Rowles specializes in finding unjustly neglected masterpieces like Duke Ellington's "Black Butterfly," "Button Up Your Overcoat," and Jobim's "Marjo," giving each of them his personal touch. One can hardly keep from smiling when hearing the sly rendition of "This Is a Night for Love," with Mraz's warm arco bass (which sounds more like a cello in this instance) complemented by Rowles' impish solo. This delightful release is well worth acquiring.

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