Wynton Kelly

Wynton Kelly!

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A key session player and bandmember with Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, J.J. Johnson, and Wes Montgomery, to single out just a handful, pianist Wynton Kelly also led several sessions of his own during his short life. This Collectables reissue of a 1961 Vee-Jay release is a fine example of Kelly relaxed and swinging. Working a similar niche to some of the piano trio work of Red Garland and Ahmad Jamal -- two pianists with their own associations with Miles Davis -- Kelly takes a selection of well-known standards and energizes them with tasteful, sophisticated, snappy performances, blending in a group of original tunes along the way. "Surrey With the Fringe on Top," "Gone With the Wind," and "Autumn Leaves" are all given fresh, up-tempo treatments. The ballads "Love I've Found You" and Kelly's own "Make the Man Love Me" showcase thoughtful interplay among the trio members. Sam Jones and Paul Chambers share bass duties on the set. Jimmy Cobb is the drummer. While Jones' trademark, sonorous whump comes through nicely in the mix, overall, the performances of the sidemen are more self-effacing than is typical for them. But, then again, this date is about putting a much-deserved spotlight on the pianist's talents. It's a short turn in the limelight, though. The CD clocks in at a brief 34:27.

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