The Hymn

Lou Levy

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The Hymn Review

by Ken Dryden

Lou Levy had a long career, but the pianist was better known as a sideman than for his relatively rare dates as a leader. This enjoyable trio session from 1962, with bassist Max Bennett and drummer Stan Levey, mixes show tunes, jazz classics, and a few originals. Although John Coltrane put a very personal stamp on "My Favorite Things" with his landmark 1960 recording, Levy finds a different path that has plenty of its own fire, while "How High the Moon" is refreshingly deliberate, played as a slow waltz. Humor is the central ingredient to the Scottish folk tune "Comin' Thru the Rye," starting with a bagpipe-like dirge in the pianist's left hand and Levey's drum roll, the piece quickly lightens up into a cool jazz setting. Charlie Parker's "The Hymn" is also quite entertaining, as are Levy's compositions, especially "Won't You Let Me In," the bluesy closer that reminds one of the gospel-like call and response of Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'." Veteran publicist and author Peter Levinson's liner notes are very informative. This long-unavailable record will be difficult to locate and seems to be an unlikely candidate for reissue.

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