Donald Lambert ranks in jazz history as one of the great unknown stride pianists. In the late '20s, he was a top pianist appearing regularly at rent parties and clubs in Harlem. However, by the 1930s he preferred to stay in New Jersey, playing in out-of-the-way clubs. He recorded four brilliant solos for Bluebird in 1941 in which he strided various classical themes. Other than privately recorded sets from 1960-1962 that were released decades later by Solo Art, IAJRC, and two on Pumpkin, that is all the documentation that exists of Donald Lambert. But even with the low quantity, his brilliant technique and appealing ideas come through and one can understand why he was held in such high esteem by his contemporaries (if not why he avoided New York).
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