John Sheridan

They Can't Take That Away from Me: Arbors Piano, Vol. 5

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The pianist from Jim Cullum's San Antonio based jazz band goes it alone on 15 solo piano cuts. Sheridan's thing is stride and swing; in fact, few pianists play the lyrical, bouncy stride piano these days as well as Sheridan, and he's a jewel just for that. Moreover, he's remarkably steady and consistent, the epitome of in-the-pocket for this style of jazz interpretation. At his most energetic, he's not really frenetic. The quicker stride on "Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea" is tasteful, not romp-stop-tear it up, the exception being the more animated "Sensation Rag." His chest puffs a bit on a bold treatment of the Don Redman number (written in 1928) "Nobody Else But You," and he's definitely got his solid stride thing goin' on for thicker rhythms on "He Ain't Got Rhythm" and "You're a Lucky Guy," There are numerous "small" stride hits where Sheridan seems most comfortable; the title track opener, "Restless," Ellington's "I Didn't Know About You," and more bluesy treatments, slight on "Pete Kelly's Blues," slighter on "Sweet Eloise" with hints of stride, and more pronounced and true blue for "Buddy Bolden's Blues." Most interesting is a version of "You Go to My Head," started in a free rubato fashion, then to ballad tempo, mid-stride and back. He ends appropriately with a very melodic take of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." Another winner for Arbors Jazz and especially Sheridan. Fans of this style of piano will want to put this right next to their Judy Carmichael, James Dapogny, and Ralph Sutton records.

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