Marian McPartland has continued to grow as a musician over her long career, constantly exploring new songs and new styles while rekindling standards and jazz classics with her own distinctive touch at the keyboard. This pair of 1995 sessions at the Yoshi's Nitespot in Oakland, CA, feature her in a trio setting with bassist Bill Douglass and drummer Glenn Davis. She slowly percolates a driving bop arrangement of "Like Someone in Love," and her striking approach to "If I Should Lose You" conveys the emotion of the song even though the lyric isn't heard. She also ventures into modern Broadway with a mesmerizing waltz interpretation of the ballad "Pretty Women" (from Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd). Songs by Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk are an expected part of any performance by the pianist, and she doesn't disappoint her audience with her lovely take of "Warm Valley" and a strident version of "Straight, No Chaser." She romps through Charlie Parker's "Steeplechase," captures the essence of Clare Fischer's "Pensativa," revisits her own beautiful ballad "Silent Pool" (which has been heard on numerous editions of her long-running NPR series "Piano Jazz"), and signs off with Ornette Coleman's deceptively simple blues "Turn Around," which of course prompts her to choose an adventurous, improvised route. This live CD is an essential document of McPartland's career, and no jazz library should be without it.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden