Dave McKenna made a remarkably piano solo debut in 1955 with the fifteen tunes he recorded for ABC Paramount (1-15). The remaining tracks on this compilation also come from a solo album, one he cut almost eight years later for the label Realm. Playing without a rhythm section, a key challenge for a jazz pianist, McKenna accomplished a recital of lasting value and pleasure. He plays with strength, individuality, fine beat and technique, and constant taste in all tempos. He is a wonderfully co-ordinated two-handed pianist.
A unique dual piano session from Dave McKenna and Hal Overton – and one that's nicely free of any sense of gimmick or cliche! The pair work together in a really loose, personal style – one that has the upfront push of a jazz trio date, but which also allows each musician room to express themselves differently – as you'd expect, given their slightly different approaches. Rhythm is from Earl May on bass and Jerry Segal on drums – and titles include "Monk's Mood", "Keeping Out Of Mischief", "Dizzy Atmosphere", "Ruby My Dear", and a great reading of "Hi Fly".
For one of violinist Joe Venuti's final recording sessions, he engages in a set of duets with the talented swing pianist Dave McKenna. The original LP had a dozen performances and the reissue CD adds seven more. In addition to the usual standards, there are several Dixieland tunes (including three versions of "At the Jazz Band Ball") and four Venuti originals. McKenna (with his rolling basslines) was a perfect partner for the violinist, making this set one of the best of Venuti's later years.
Considered the first modern soprano saxophonist, Steve Lacy propelled the instrument from classic Dixieland romps to the cutting edge of avant-garde jazz and back again. This import exclusive remastered reissue features two rare 1956 sessions of Steve Lacy during the early stages of his legendary career. The release also features such fine musicians as Herbie Mann, Don Stratton, Joe Puma, Dave McKenna and Osie Johnson.
The very complementary tenors Al Cohn and Zoot Sims (whose similar styles often made them sound almost identical) teamed up many times through the years; this reissue brings back their first joint recording. Joined by either Dave McKenna or Hank Jones on piano, bassist Milt Hinton, drummer Osie Johnson, and (on some selections) the forgotten trumpeter Dick Sherman, Al and Zoot avoid obvious material ("Somebody Loves Me" and "East of the Sun" are the only standards) in favor of swinging "modern" originals by Cohn, Sherman, Osie Johnson, Ralph Burns, Manny Albam, Ernie Wilkins, and Milty Gold. Zoot contributed "Tenor for Two Please, Jack," his answer to the song "Dinner for One Please, James." [Some releases add four alternate takes to the original 12-song program, giving one a good example of the occasional Cohn-Sims musical partnership.]