Back in 1958, guitarists John Pisano and Billy Bean teamed up for a pair of Decca albums (Take Your Pick and Makin' It) that also included Gene Estes on vibes, bassist Hal Gaylor, drummer Larry Bunker and, on various tracks, strings and woodwinds. During the same period, Pisano taped their rehearsals and the best selections from those informal jams have been released for the first time in this 1998 CD, available from the British String Jazz label. Pisano and Bean are heard in duets, quartets (with an unidentified bassist and drummer) and quintets that add Estes; in addition, an unidentified altoist (Paul Horn?) pops up on a couple melody statements. Bean and Pisano were very complementary and it is often difficult to tell who is soloing at a particular time. Best among the selections are Horace Silver's "Room 608," "Indian Summer," a lengthy "Sweet Georgia Brown" and a duo version of "Cherokee." The recording quality is pretty good and, although occasionally one can hear a musician talking, these private jams do deserve to be released and cherished by bop guitar collectors, particularly since Billy Bean is long retired. Well worth checking out.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow