Kenny Drew

Kenny Drew Live

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Near the end of his long career, Kenny Drew remained one of the top jazz pianists based in Europe, even though his trips to his homeland and recordings in the U.S. were rather sporadic. This 1992 set, recorded at the Brewhouse in England just over a year prior to his death, finds him in great form with frequent collaborator Niels Pedersen on bass and drummer Alvin Queen. Drew's driving hard bop interpretation of Dave Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" is powered by Pedersen's imaginative bassline, while Queen switches to brushes and Pedersen's playing is more spacious in his richly textured treatment of "It Might as Well Be Spring." A wild free-form duet by Pedersen and Queen sets up Sonny Rollins' calypso "St. Thomas." "It Could Happen to You" begins with a solo display of Drew's dazzling technique, followed by an extended workout of the Israeli folk tune "Hush-A-Bye," first recorded by Drew almost two decades earlier. A big hit for the pianist in Japan, this fierce arrangement starts with an improvised semi-classical unaccompanied introduction. The contents of this Japanese CD, released in 1998 by Videoarts in Japan, is nearly identical to the 2000 Storyville issue At the Brewhouse, though "St. Thomas" is not included on the latter, two cuts are missing from the former, and the dates don't match, even though it is obvious that the matching tracks are the very same performances. Recommended.

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