Little Rock Getaway: The Piano of Joe Sullivan

Joe Sullivan

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Little Rock Getaway: The Piano of Joe Sullivan Review

by Ken Dryden

Joe Sullivan's recording career was nearly over by the time these studio sessions were made in 1953, although he lived until 1971. First issued under the title New Solos by an Old Master, Riverside reissued this LP in 1962, shortly before the label closed its doors. The pianist's originals make up half of the record, including a trio rendition of "Gin Mill Blues," his somewhat prophetically titled "Farewell to Riverside," and his best-known composition, "Little Rock Getaway." His interpretations of "Sweet Lorraine" and "Honeysuckle Rose" indicate that he still had plenty to offer jazz fans, though both his alcoholism and failing health contributed to his rapid fade into obscurity not long after this recording was made. Bassist Dave Lario and drummer Smoky Stover are present on a few tracks, though the solo pieces are what stand out. Although the master tapes have been owned by Fantasy for many years, it is rather odd that this recommended album has not been reissued.

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