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An English Songbook

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Album Review

The distinguished veteran jazz pianist John Bunch may not be a name on the tip of the tongues of average jazz fans, but true fans of swing and standards will likely already be familiar with his work. This 2003 solo date for Chiaroscuro features Bunch interpreting 15 songs written over a 65-year span by British composers, and each song is handled with great respect to the original melody while adding just the right touch of improvisation. Some of the songs are very familiar, including a lush "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," the relaxed but jaunty "Cherokee," and a gently swinging "The Touch of Your Lips." He also revives once popular (but now rarely performed) gems like "If I Had You," "Sunday," and "I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You." He also enlightens listeners with his arrangements of somewhat obscure pieces, such as Noel Coward's "Play Orchestra Play" and "Ziguener," along with the century-old "On the Road to Mandalay," all of which are also worthy of high praise. Every track is a pure delight for fans of solo piano.


Born: 01 December 1921 in Tipton, IN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

John Bunch had a long and distinguished career even if his abilities as an accompanist and supportive player sometimes led to him being taken for granted. He started on piano when he was 11 and within a year was playing in local clubs. Bunch, a flexible pianist who was most inspired by Teddy Wilson, generally played locally until working with the big bands of Woody Herman (1956-1957), Benny Goodman, and Maynard Ferguson (1958) when he was already in his mid-thirties. Bunch worked in the small groups...
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An English Songbook, John Bunch
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