Herman Chittison

Piano Genius

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Considering his talent, pianist Herman Chittison recorded relatively little throughout his career. Fortunately during a five-month period in 1944-45, he documented 16 selections for Musicraft; 15 (all but an alternate take of "I Should Care") are on this excellent LP. Chittison plays four songs (including "Schubert's Serenade" and "How High the Moon") with guitarist Jimmy Shirley and bassist Carlton Powell in a trio, seven numbers feature Chittison, Powell and guitarist Carl Lynch (including three with Thelma Carpenter vocals) and, best of all, Chittison takes four unaccompanied piano solos including jazz interpretations of Chopin's "Triste" and "To a Wild Rose." Although not generally as hyper as his 1930s solos, these performances (compiled on an LP in 1980) feature Chittison in top form. Recommended.