Milt Buckner

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In 1966, Milt Buckner, like several of his contemporary jazz confreres, took his trio into Germany's Black Forest to record for Hans GeorgeBrunner-Schwer's MPS label. He was joined by former Ellingtonian bass player Jimmy Woode and former Count Basie drummer Jo Jones. Although Buckner's major legacy was as the originator of the locked-hands or parallel-chords technique, this album shows he was a performer of commanding originality. "Hamp's Boogie Woogie" reveals that he was a pretty fair boogie-woogie player and "Saba's House Party" shows a special affinity for the blues. But for the most part on this session, he sticks with his locked-hands approach. The play list is clearly designed to showcase this form of playing, especially such Buckner originals as "Feelin' Sorta Villingen" and "Chitlins à la Carte." At the same time, "Yours Is My Heart Alone" has the flourishes and frills worthy of Erroll Garner at his virtuosic best. Not only is Buckner at the top of his form in this forest setting, so is Woode, whose bop-oriented bass is featured on most tracks. Jo Jones is given some opportunities for drum breaks, particularly on "Cute." He also engages in a rollicking exchange with Buckner on "Pick Yourself Up." This album confirms that Buckner's contributions to jazz extend beyond the development of a particular technical approach to the piano. This is a fine session that needs to be reissued on CD.

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