The Jazz Piano Quartet, with pianists Dick Hyman, Roland Hanna, Marian McPartland, and Hank Jones, was a one-time project, with the partial aim by RCA to introduce jazz fans to the wonders of quadraphonic sound, although the LP was also released in stereo simultaneously. While many folks think that piano duets often result in train wrecks, the recipe for disaster was even greater with four pianists recorded simultaneously without overdubbing. Other than some very basic charts written by Hyman to serve as a simple guide, all ten performances are improvised without the benefit of a single rehearsal; an even more stunning fact is that everything was nailed on the first take! Fortunately, each of the four players, all of whom played with Benny Goodman at one time or another, have excellent ears and can go with the ebb and flow of the rest of the group. The results are fascinating, including a wild romp through "Lover, Come Back to Me," a lyrical treatment of "Here's That Rainy Day," and a stunning "Warm Valley," with Jones duplicating Johnny Hodges' famous alto sax solo on the keyboard. But the most marvelous accomplishment of the sessions which produced this record is the group improvisation "Improvviso," which is expanded from a musical fragment by Erik Satie. Sadly, quadraphonic sound never really got off the ground, and RCA's promotion of this unusual LP was rather limited, so it didn't remain in the catalog for long. But although all four pianists have made many great recordings individually since this 1974 release, they should be very proud of their considerable accomplishments on this very collectable record. Highly recommended!
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden