Franco D'Andrea

Solo 1: Standards

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This is one of several delightful solo piano CDs recorded by Franco d'Andrea during marathon studio sessions in early 2001. Although all of these standards will be very familiar to almost any slightly seasoned jazz fan, what d'Andrea does with these classic songs is anything but typical. The opening medley combines a flashy but still jaunty post-bop take of swing favorite "Gone With the Wind" with the more traditional jazz favorites "Basin Street Blues" and "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans." While the Gershwin medley of "I Got Rhythm" and "I Loves You, Porgy" isn't a surprising pairing, his angular approach to the two favorites is definitely different. Likewise, the dark introduction to "Summertime" gives it a more ominous character than one expects. "Cherokee" is the only relative quickie (at just over four and a half minutes), but d'Andrea's abstract approach to the theme is a welcome change. Likewise, the ballad "Lover Man" is often rather played without much inspiration; d'Andrea's moody interpretation makes it sound more plaintive than the most moody version one can remember. This brilliant release should be considered essential listening for fans of jazz piano.