Kenny Drew / Kenny Drew, Jr.

Live at the Montreux Jazz Festival '99

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Kenny Drew, Jr. is all alone on-stage and in total command of the keyboard with this 1999 solo piano set recorded at the 1999 Montreux Jazz Festival. His stunning interpretation of "Alone Together" begins with a tense introduction, yet shows a degree of playfulness. He also finds a fresh approach to another frequently performed standard, "There Is No Greater Love," with a dancing right hand complemented by an equally adroit left hand. Drew also treats songs by Duke Ellington (a delicious medley of "The Single Petal of a Rose" and "Prelude to a Kiss") and Miles Davis (although "Solar" is attributed to Chuck Wayne by Bill Crow, according to the respected veteran liner-notes writer Ira Gitler). Other delightful (though not as well-known) works include Steve Swallow's "Radio" and Astor Piazzolla's richly textured tango "Invierno Portenio," which also make for compelling listening. The gem of the set, however, is his tour de force rendition of Miles Davis' heralded modal composition "Nardis," on which Bill Evans put his stamp with numerous recordings (mostly in concert), starting with its debut on a Cannonball Adderley session in 1958. Drew finds his own remarkable path with roller coaster-like choruses, a brief detour into Latin jazz, and an amusing Twilight Zone tag near its conclusion. In his early forties at the time of the concert, Kenny Drew, Jr. is easily one of the greatest pianists of his generation, and this live CD should be considered an essential purchase.

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