This post focuses on jazz piano giant Teddy Wilson (1912-86) whose sophisticated and elegant style graced many a record of jazz's biggest names including Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Noted jazz musicologist Gunter Schuller argues in his authoritative History of Jazz - The Swing Era that Wilson's approach to the jazz piano was the predecessor of the Red Garland - Wynton Kelly school of jazz piano; he is right.
This late Wilson offering from 1976 was recorded at an unusual setting: an open-air studio in Nice, France. As a result, the ambience is a bit different outdoors, while birds can be heard occasionally in the background. This is hardly a distraction for seasoned veterans of the stature of Wilson and his cohorts Milt Hinton on bass and Oliver Jackson on drums who navigate through 14 standards that they had likely played hundreds of times during their long careers with great aplomb and finesse. Highlights include a lush treatment of "You Go to My Head," a cheerful midtempo romp through "Flying Home" (with a superb solo by Hinton), and a blistering take of "Undecided." While Teddy Wilson didn't modify his style much during his career, this outdoor recording is one of his most interesting studio efforts.
Teddy Wilson: piano Milt Hinton: bass Oliver Jackson: drums
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm (3:33) Flying Home (3:47) I Didn't Know What Time It Was (4:17) Sweet Lorraine (3:41) Sugar (3:25) Undecided (3:55) St. Louis Blues (4:13) Three Little Words (2:39) I've Got the World on a String (4:07) Don't Be That Way (3:05) You Go to My Head (4:24) My Heart Stood Still (2:38) Where or When (4:32) Basin Street Blues (3:50)
The attitude of the gallant Six Hundred which so aroused Lord Tennyson's admiration arose from the fact that the least disposition to ask the reason why was discouraged by tricing the would-be inquirer to the triangle and flogging him into insensibility.
Advance to Barbarism
(Mitre Press, 1968).
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