Other Pianists
Kenny Drew

Hank Jones

His recoding debut came on Blue Note in 1950 with Howard McGhee and J.J. Johnson. Later, in 1953, Kenny Drew made his first album as a leader again on Blue Note in a trio with Curly Russell and Art Blakey. After moving to LA he recorded for Jazz West amongst others to record Chambers' Music with, John Coltrane and Philly Joe Jones. In early 1957 Kenny made his way back to New York as accompanist for Dinah Washington. That month he participated in John Coltrane's monumental Blue Train. His association with Blue Note resumed in 1960 when he made his own Undercurrent as well as Jackie McLean's Bluesnik and Jackie's Bag, Kenny Dorham's Whistle Stop, Dexter Godon's Dexter Calling, Grant Green's Sunday Mornin' and a couple of Tina Brooks dates all within the space of a year. Eventually Drew chose to migrate to Europe. But he again popped up on a classic Blue Note date, Dexter Godon's One Flight Up, done in Paris in 1964. The oldest of the three illustrious Jones brothers (which include Thad and Elvin), Hank Jones was also the first of the great Detroit pianists to emerge in the 50s and 60s. Hank Jones is one of the most versatile and durable of modern pianists. An outstanding accompanist of singers, as evidenced by his years backing Ella Fitzgerald ('48-'53). He recorded voluminously as a leader and with such major figures as Benny Goodman, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Ben Webster. Born in 1918 Hank Jones embodies the full range of jazz piano tradition, from swing, via bebop right up to free jazz, and has influenced a who's who of modern pianists. Whilst his own idols include Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum, his accessible playing is flexible enough to fit into many genres. He is the complete pianist and stands as a model of how to marry taste and technique.

Phineas Newborn

Elmo Hope

With his technique, harmonic mastery, rhythmic displacements, and brilliant tone, Phineas Newborn was a jazz piano phenomenon. He was most active in the 1950s--illnesses and an injury interrupted his career--but had periods of concert, club, and recording activity in the 1960s and again in the '70s. Because of the sporadic nature of his career, Phineas Newborn is less well known to the public than are many of his contemporaries. But among musicians, and particularly among fellow pianists, Newborn is regarded with awe as one of the most gifted performers of his generation. His articulation, virtuosity, and creativity were in a class comparable only with Art Tatum or Oscar Peterson. Elmo Hope was a fine pianist and composer whose career was overshadowed by his friends Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. He first came to prominence in 1953 when he started recording as a leader in New York and played on the local scene with the like of Sonny Rollins, Lou Donaldson, Clifford Brown, and Jackie McLean. But the loss of his cabaret card (due to his drug use) made it very difficult for him to make a living in New York. After touring with Chet Baker in 1957, Hope relocated to Los Angeles. He performed with Lionel Hampton in 1959, recorded with Harold Land and Curtis Counce, and returned to New York in 1961. He died in 1966 following a string of drugs related problems (a short prison sentence) and illness. Elmo Hope's sessions as a leader were cut for Blue Note, Prestige, Pacific Jazz, Hi Fi Jazz, Riverside, Celebrity, Beacon, and Audio Fidelity.

Hampton Hawes

Barry Harris
His Los Angeles base of operation robbed Hampton Hawes of due recognition as one of the definitive pianists of the modern era. As he possessed a similar command of the bebop idiom, he was often compared to Bud Powell. But he also coupled this with a soulfulness of expression to match Horace Silver's. Hampton Hawes (1928-1977) was inspired less by other pianists, he said, than by the genius of Charlie Parker. "It was Bird's conception of time that influenced me most," he explained, "and made me realize how important meter and time are in jazz to make it swing." His trio with bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Chuck Thompson meshed as cohesively as any threesome in jazz, presenting a dynamic in which Hawes's blues feeling and powerful articulation melded perfectly with Mitchell's sensitive accompaniment and brilliant solo abilities and Thompson's unrelenting concern for ensemble propulsion. Another exponent of the Detroit Jazz piano generation, Barry Harris is unquestionably the foremost exponent of the music of Bud Powell, Tadd Dameron and Monk. While still living in Detroit he worked frequently with Thad Jones, Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt, Wardell Gray, and Max Roach. By 1956 his reputation as a performer and articulate teacher of bop was such that visiting artists from New York and elsewhere frequently sought him out for his musical insights and camaraderie. He joined Cannonball Adderley's quintet in 1960 and soon afterwards moved to New York, where he performed and recorded with such musicians as Dexter Gordon, Illinois Jacquet, Yusef Lateef, and Hank Mobley. From 1965 to 1969 he had a productive association with Coleman Hawkins, and from time to time he also led his own groups.

Tommy Flanagan

Herbie Nichols
Tommy Flanagan (1930-2001) was one of the most respected pianists in jazz by critics and, particularly, by his peers. Tommy Flanagan was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 16,1930. As a teenager he established a reputation as a sensitive and stimulating accompanist. This led to recordings and live appearances with J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Coleman Hawkins. For a long time Flanagan's skill in backing soloists involved total immersion in servicing singers, notably Tony Bennett and Ella Fitzgerald. From the mid 1970's however, life as an independent trio leader and soloist has produced many fine albums, in which Flanagan's surprisingly delicate touch combines with rhythmic resilience to create a uniquely refined approach to bebop piano. One of jazz's most overlooked geniuses, Herbie Nichols was a highly original piano stylist and a composer of tremendous imagination.He wasn't known widely enough to exert much influence in either department, but his music eventually attracted a cult following, though not quite the wide exposure it deserved. Apart from the song he wrote for Billie Holiday, "Lady Sings the Blues," none of Nichols' work got enough attention to really catch on. He signed with Blue Note and recorded three piano trio albums from 1955-1956. Nichols languished in obscurity after that, though; sadly, just when he was beginning to find a following, he was stricken with leukaemia and died on April 12, 1963. In the years that followed, Nichols became a favourite composer in avant-garde circles and even inspired a repertory group, called the Herbie Nichols Project, and most of his recordings were reissued on CD.

Cedar Walton

Ray Bryant
After arriving in New York in '58 he recorded with Kenny Dorham, then played in J.J. Johnson's group (1958-60) and the Jazztet (1960-61). Later he recorded with Art Farmer (1965, 1975-77). From 1961 to 1964 he was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard. After a period as accompanist to Abbey Lincoln (1965-66) he recorded frequently with Lee Morgan and worked as house pianist for Prestige (1967-69), then re-joined Blakey for a tour of Japan (1973). From the mid-1960s Walton has performed frequently as the leader of a traditional bop quartet with Clifford Jordan, George Coleman, or Ralph Moore, and Sam Jones or David Williams, and Billy Higgins; in 1975 it took the name Eastern Rebellion. He later toured the USA, Europe, and Japan as the leader of a trio, which often included Higgins. Walton has also performed as a soloist, in duos with various double bass players, and from around 1981 as a member of the Timeless All Stars. Ray Bryant is a Philadelphian who comes from an essentially pianistic family. His mother and sister both play; his eldest brother is a bassist. From 1951 to 1953, Ray got his first professional experience with the local band of clarinetist Billy Kretchmer. later, he became the house pianist at the Blue Note club (also in Philly) where he backed such greats as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. Evidently, he made an impression on Miles, for in 1955, Ray was called in to New York to record with Davis, Milt Jackson and Jackie McLean. He did another recording for Prestige with Sonny Rollins (Worktime, Prestige) and continued to be active around Philly. In the Encyclopedia of Jazz, Ray named Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson as his favorite pianists, and although his own style is very different than either of theirs, he has definitely learned from them in the matter of approaching the piano. In the abundant crop of fine young pianists playing today, Ray Briant still manages to stand out and shine.

Dave Brubeck

Lennie Tristano
Born 1920 Dave Brubeck originally studied classical music, Darius Milhaud was one of his teachers. In 1946 after college and military service, he formed his own trio, then reformed in 1951 as a quartet when Paul Desmond joined (Joe Morello drums and Eugene Wright.bass). The quartet was an international sensation and despite personnel changes continued until 1967. In 1968 there was a new quartet, this time with Gerry Mulligan on sax. The Dave Brubeck Quartet scored many international hits, most of which were written in odd time signatures; Most well known is the Paul Desmond composition, Take Five. Brubeck as a composer has also contributed many a standard to the repertoire. Time signatures A Career Retrospective is a 4 box set that is so complete, that most people will not need to buy any other Brubeck CDs. Lennie Tristano counts as one of the most important of Jazz music's innovators. Tristano brought to the music of Charlie Parker and Bud Powell a harmonic language that adapted the practices of counterpoint and contemporary classical music. In 1946 Tristano moved to New York, performing with many of the leading musicians of the day, including Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In 1951, Tristano founded a school of jazz in New York where his most prominent students included Lee Konitz, Billy Bauer and Warne Marsh. This was also the core of his great sextet. In 1949 they recorded what was to become the basis of the band's collective legacy, the album Crosscurrents. The recording exemplified the Tristano approach: long, rhythmically and harmonically elaborate melodies over a smooth, almost uninflected swing time. His public performances became fewer and for the rest of his life, until his death in 1978, Tristano was to concentrate on teaching, mostly to the exclusion of everything else.

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