Skip Bey / Oliver Jones

Then & Now

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Oliver Jones was one of the busiest artists working for the Canadian label Justin Time during the 1980s and 1990s, but one duo session recorded in 1986 with bassist Skip Bey was evidently abandoned or forgotten. Five tracks from that session are intermingled with their 2001 studio reunion, which also seems to be Jones' swansong since he has retired from his long career as a musician. Regardless of the reason that it took so long for this CD to be completed, Jones is dazzling in his swinging treatments of time-tested standards with Bey's big-toned bass along for the ride. Jones hardly limits Bey to a timekeeping role, as the bassist has a number of great solos as the pianist ducks out, occasionally feeding him with a few choice chords. The burning take of "Perdido," the heartfelt treatment of "I Remember Clifford" (with Bey's warm arco bass), and the inspired rendition of "I'll Remember April" (with a hilarious detour into Grofé's loping "On the Trail") are all highlights of this intimate pair of duo dates. If this is truly Oliver Jones' final CD, it is a performance that will stand the test of time.

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