Oscar Dennard

Legendary Oscar Dennard

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This is the only record date led by Oscar Dennard, an obscure pianist best known for his work with Lionel Hampton in the 1950s. Legendary Oscar Dennard finds Dennard in a trumpet quartet, featuring the wonderfully composed Idrees Sulieman, Jamil Nasser (of the Ahmad Jamal trio) on bass, and Buster Smith on drums. The tunes are mostly jam-session fare, and they are given lengthy readings. The group swings hard throughout, with each member soloing extensively. Dennard's unique style is the real reason to seek out this set. His solos build to dense peaks, employing flurries of jagged notes. On "Tour de Force Blues," Dennard pounds out a succession of single-note stabs, countering the easy swing laid down by Nasser and Smith. Dennard's playing, highlighted by chromatic grace and rhythmic play, is an interesting treat, embracing swing and bop while also suggesting the work of celebrated eccentrics such as Jaki Byard and Herbie Nichols.

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