Jimmy Rowles

The Special Magic of Jimmy Rowles

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Jimmy Rowles was a masterful pianist who never received the recognition he deserved during his lifetime. This obscure date (with many tracks featuring bassist Rusty Gilder) for the long defunct Halcyon label was recorded in a private apartment in New York City in the spring of 1974, around the time that he was a regular at the Cookery. His strutting take of Carl Perkins' bop classic "Grooveyard" is a delightful opener, while his percussive pounding provides a surprise introduction to Duke Ellington's "Rockin' in Rhythm." His smoky yet friendly vocal during "Sunday, Monday or Always" and a lush medley of "Lotus Blossom" and "Prelude to a Kiss" are excellent examples of his lyricism. He also shows his great sense of humor, inserting an excerpt of "Tico, Tico" in the midst of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." But what makes this increasingly hard to find LP especially valuable is yet another version of his beautiful piece "The Peacocks," which became a jazz standard that was recorded frequently. Highly recommended.

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