Bobby Short

Piano

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Piano is Bobby Short's first recording for the audiophile label Surrounded by Entertainment. (He recorded for Telarc throughout the '90s.) As the title suggests, the cabaret/jazz legend tickles the ivories but does not sing, except on "Maybe" and "Smiles." On most songs he's backed by a tasteful combo, featuring guitarist Howard Alden, bassist Frank Tate, and drummer Klaus Suonsaari, with trumpeter John Eckert soloing on four occasions. Short likes to perform Ellington unaccompanied ("Mood Indigo," "Lonely Co-ed"). He gives Strayhorn multiple nods as well ("Isfahan," "After All," "Lotus Blossom/"Warm Valley"), and salutes Monk with a stately solo version of "'Round Midnight." Other highlights include a shimmying, almost campy "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and a peppy samba take on "Remember." Short's playing is restrained and unassuming; his voice may be a bit frail and throaty at this point, but it's still inimitable.

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