Dick Hyman

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Recorded meetings of two pianists, once considered to be nothing but a novelty, gained greater acceptance after Marian McPartland invited many of the top jazz pianists to appear on her long-running radio series, but not every duo piano matchup is equally memorable. As Dick Hyman discusses in his liner notes to this session with Ray Kennedy (the pianist of the John Pizzarelli Trio), each musician must take turns playing solos and a supporting role, and feel that a meeting of minds is taking place. Fortunately, that is the case, as this project is never a cutting contest but a joint effort that explores the possibilities of each song, most of which are standards. Among the many highlights are the dissonant arrangement of "These Foolish Things," a romp through "Jumpin' With Symphony Sid," "Clara, Clara," a moody obscurity from the Ira and George Gershwin, and a heartfelt take of the bittersweet ballad "Goodbye," which long served as Benny Goodman's sign-off piece. Each man offers an original as well. Kennedy brought "Just a Skosh," a rollicking tune that would have been right at home during the 1930s. Hyman revived "Waltzin' Without the G," a piece he wrote in 1973 for a televised beauty pageant; this shimmering gem seems as if it was conceived with two pianos in mind. With two inventive and musically intuitive pianists playing two magnificent pianos and a pair of engineers who are in tune with the artists' goals, the results achieved on this outstanding date should come as no surprise.

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