Dave Frishberg

Lookin' Good: Getting Some Fun Out of Life/Let's Eat Home

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Lookin' Good: Getting Some Fun Out of Life/Let's Eat Home Review

by Ken Dryden

This two-CD set by Dave Frishberg in Concord's budget series combines two complete releases, Getting Some Fun Out of Life and Let's Eat Home. Disc one features the singing pianist in a mix of traditional jazz, stride, and swing, in a quintet that includes alto saxophonist Marshall Royal and a fine yet unheralded veteran of many studio sessions, trumpeter Bob Findley. Frishberg's take of "Sweet Lotus Blossom" is sweet and slow, followed by a peppy "I Would Do Anything for You." He delves into the Duke Ellington songbook with two overlooked gems, Ellington's snappy miniature "Stevedore Stomp" and Billy Strayhorn's richly textured "Violet Blue," highlighted by Frishberg's sparse piano and the gorgeous playing of Royal. The pianist does justice to solo interpretations of Fats Waller's "Alligator Crawl" and Jelly Roll Morton's playful rag "King Porter Stomp." Only one Frishberg original is present, his warm tribute "Dear Bix," in which he honors the tragically short-lived cornetist with an almost conversational vocal; a buoyant solo version of Beiderbecke's "In a Mist" is a nice bonus. The second disc is also primarily a quintet session, with valve trombonist Rob McConnell and trumpeter Snooky Young prominently featured. Frishberg's songwriting is more in evidence with his campy lyrics to Johnny Mandel's "Brenda Starr" and with "Matty," his heartfelt tribute to early baseball great Christy Matthewson, but the whimsical lyrics to "Let's Eat Home" and his hysterical lines in "I Was Ready" and "Lookin' Good" will be of interest to those who favor Frishberg's unique blend of jazz and comedy. He also salutes his late friend Al Cohn and Billy Strayhorn with inventive medleys, and delivers a powerful solo version of Duke Ellington's "The Mooche" as well. This two-CD set will be hard for most jazz fans to pass up, especially with the attractive price.

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