Stanley Cowell

Travellin' Man

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Stanley Cowell is simply dazzling throughout most of these 1969 trio sessions made for Black Lion, excelling as a composer and pianist. He's accompanied by the sympathetic playing of bassist Steve Novosel and drummer Jimmy Hopps. The tantalizing opener, "Departure," constantly shifts gears in a driving post-bop setting, as Novosel's droning arco bass and Hopps' over the top percussion contrast with the beauty of the leader's ballad "Sweet Song." The gorgeous and understated jazz waltz "Wedding March" was actually composed for the entry of the bridesmaids at the composer's nuptials. The only standard is a rollicking stride piano solo interpretation of "You Took Advantage of Me," where the comparisons to Art Tatum are inevitable because of the amazing arpeggios by his right hand. Only "Blues for the Viet Cong" and "Travellin' Man" end up sounding rather dated, due to Cowell's switch to electric piano. This is easily one of Stanley Cowell's best all-around dates.

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