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Still Swingin'

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Album Review

Pianist Mike Longo teams up with bassist Ben Brown and drummer Ray Mosca for an invigorating trio session. At the heart of the music is Longo's relaxed, self-assured time feel, rooted in the bebop tradition as codified by the likes of Bud Powell and Barry Harris. Some of Longo's carefully arranged intros and outros recall the early Bill Evans trios as well. After opening with a menu of standards, blues, and rhythm changes, the trio takes a decidedly modern turn with "Wild Flower," one of Wayne Shorter's great waltzes. They go on to interpret a few more standards and a pair of Longo originals before closing with "Savannah Calling," a slow blues by James Moody. Along the way, Longo makes some unexpected moves, like taking "How High the Moon" and "Without a Song" at very slow tempos and playing "It Never Entered My Mind" as a moving solo piece. Longo remains one of the most relentless and resourceful quoters around. He refers to "St. Thomas" during "All or Nothing at All," "Emanon" during "Trane's Blues," "If I Should Lose You" during "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "Four" during "The Night Is Love," "I Can't Get Started" during "Without a Song," and so on. These quotes are never obvious or heavy-handed, and they always make the utmost musical sense. They also hint at just how much music Longo has running through his veins. ~ David R. Adler, Rovi


Born: 19 March 1939 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Mike Longo is best-known as a reliable and versatile player who was the pianist with Dizzy Gillespie during 1966-1973. He started taking piano lessons when he was three, played professionally when he was 15, and while in high school in Ft. Lauderdale, he had the opportunity to play with Cannonball Adderley. In 1960, Longo worked at the Metropole in New York with Red Allen and Coleman Hawkins, spent 1961 living in Toronto (where he studied with Oscar Peterson), and then returned to New York, where...
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