Dick Hyman

Themes and Variations on "A Child Is Born"

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This is a unique and rather successful project. Pianist Dick Hyman, who has long had the ability to play credibly in any jazz style (although he tends to stick to prebop), performs Thad Jones' classic ballad "A Child Is Born" in the style of a dozen different pianists, including himself. Hyman infuses his interpretations with occasional humorous song quotes and does a superb job of emulating Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Erroll Garner, George Shearing, Cecil Taylor, Art Tatum and Bill Evans before launching into a 17½ minute version in his own style. The results are utterly fascinating, making one wish that the pianist had also chosen Albert Ammons, Bud Powell and McCoy Tyner. Unfortunately this LP has yet to be reissued but it is certainly a unique gem.