Kenny Drew, Jr.

Maybeck Recital Hall Series, Vol. 39

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A little older than the Young Lions generation yet just as technically gifted and respectful of his elders -- and the bearer of a semi-famous jazz name at that -- Kenny Drew, Jr. tries strenuously to dazzle the Maybeck Hall audience in Vol. 39 of the long-running series. Yet after a short while, all of the rippling chromatic scales, arpeggios, impressionistic streaks, and showy technical displays become rather wearisome. Thelonious Monk's angular stabbing manner, but not his laconic economy, hovers over this pianist -- most obviously in "Ugly Beauty," "Well, You Needn't" and "Straight, No Chaser" (the latter has a refreshing outburst of boogie-woogie) but also in "Stella By Starlight." The track that comes closest to touching the emotions is his lovely rendition of his father's "Images," recorded three days after the first anniversary of Drew, Sr.'s death. Recommended only for those committed to the Maybeck series.

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