You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby

Michael Abene

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You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby Review

by Scott Yanow

It seems strange that pianist Michael Abene did not have an opportunity to lead his own record date until he was already 42 in 1984, and that he has not led one since. A flexible and talented modern mainstream player, Abene has accompanied a wide variety of singers throughout his career and both written and played for a strong who's-who listing of top jazz players. For his set of unaccompanied solos, Abene interprets two songs apiece by Billy Strayhorn and Thelonious Monk, an obscure Fats Waller tune ("When the Nylons Bloom Again"), Steve Swallow's "Hullo, Bolinas," two originals, and the standard "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby." The performances are both exploratory and melodic; well worth several listens. This Stash LP has not yet been reissued on CD.