Various Artists

Masters of Classic Jazz: The Piano

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Masters of Classic Jazz: Piano is from a series of two-disc sets of vintage radio transcriptions arranged thematically. The focus here is the piano, with five pianists accounting for a total of 42 tracks. The big names are Art Tatum, Jess Stacy, Mary Lou Williams, and Art Hodes, while the lesser-known Herman Chittison is heard on only four cuts. All of the recordings come from the mid-'40s and feature the respective pianists in various trios. Art Tatum appears with his Nat King Cole-inspired trio of Tiny Grimes and Slam Stewart, while Jess Stacy and Mary Lou Williams perform in piano-bass-drum trios. The Mary Lou Williams cuts are of particular interest, as six of her eight tracks are original compositions, some of which are built upon boogie beats. Masters of Classic Jazz: Piano covers a range of styles and tempos, and, while the set may find an audience with some casual listeners looking for a jazz sampler, it is more likely to appeal to serious jazz fans with a specific interest in these uncommon-to-rare transcriptions.

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