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David Newton Meets Brian Lemon to Play Hoagy Carmichael

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Reseña de álbum

Hoagy Carmichael wrote the music for the quintessential, all-time most popular piano duet, "Heart and Soul," a tune that allowed individuals with minimal pianistic skills to dazzle a party audience with a plausible two-person performance on the ivories. This album, thankfully, is somewhat more sophisticated, featuring two of the U.K.'s more prominent and engaging jazz musicians joining together to interpret the work of one of America's most productive and successful composers. Both Brian Lemon and David Newton have worked with the cream of the U.K. and American jazz community, including Carol Kidd, Art Farmer, Buddy DeFranco, and Kenny Baker. For their first meeting on disc, they have chosen to collaborate on the music of a composer whose contributions to the Great American Songbook can't be fully appreciated until a dedication album like this comes along and one can see in a single place just how many standards the man wrote besides "Stardust." Of course, the inclusion of that song here begs the question, Is another version truly necessary? But Newton and Lemon have made an important addition to the song's discography with their dual-piano offering. Elsewhere, they have chosen a representative cross section of Carmichael's work. There's the cute, almost paternalistic, and certainly whimsical "Small Fry" and a jazzy "Up a Lazy River," which he wrote with early jazz clarinetist Sidney Arodin. "Rockin' Chair," which became Mildred Bailey's musical signature, is treated to some very creative interplay between Newton and Lemon, with Lemon carrying the melody and Newton improvising beneath it. The rarely recorded "My Resistance Is Low" becomes an unlikely but interesting vehicle for the two pianists to show off their virtuosity. Carmichael's romantic side is well represented by "Skylark," which gets a thorough and ethereal exposition by Newton and Lemon. Another album highlight is a bouncy, bright rendition of "One Morning in May." The duo's dreamy, languid reading of "Two Sleepy People," popularized by Bob Hope and Shirley Ross, fits well with the atmosphere created by the tune's lyrics. All in all, the album is a delightful tribute to the music of a man whose musical endowments are sometimes taken for granted, and a pleasant reminder of just how significant and lasting Carmichael's contributions have become.

David Newton Meets Brian Lemon to Play Hoagy Carmichael, Brian Lemon
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