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On the Montreal Scene

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Album Review

Pianist Johnny O'Neal displays several sides to his musical personality on this CD. On some tunes, particularly the uptempo romps, he sounds very influenced by Oscar Peterson, yet he also has his own brand of soul, which comes to the forefront on the ballads. During two numbers ("While the Blood Is Running Warm" and, most logically, "Come Sunday"), O'Neal comes across as a top-notch gospel pianist. His forceful and sincere vocalizing on three songs is an acquired taste, but O'Neal is effective on the closing blues. The straight-ahead music, which sometimes co-stars guitarist Russell Malone, has several surprises, including what may be the only instrumental version ever of the Gene Krupa-Anita O'Day hit "Let Me Off Uptown," a somber "Happy Days Are Here Again," and a colorful interpretation of "Come Sunday." Well worth checking out.


Born: 10 October 1956 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

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

A fine pianist influenced by Oscar Peterson, Johnny O'Neal actually started his career playing gospel piano in church while a teenager. Inspired by Peterson, Art Tatum, and Bud Powell, O'Neal started exploring jazz in 1976 and after impressing Ray Brown, found his way into Milt Jackson's group. Other important jobs followed (with Sonny Stitt, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and Buddy DeFranco), and in 1982, O'Neal moved to New York and soon recorded his debut with Concord. After playing regularly with Clark...
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On the Montreal Scene, Johnny O'Neal
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  • 8,91 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 12 May 1996

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