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Hi-Fly

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Album Review

This Horace Parlan session is a bit different from most of his albums for Steeplechase. First, he utilizes a drummerless trio with guitarist Doug Raney and bassist Wilbur Little. Second, it was recorded initially via direct-to-disc, which meant no editing was possible and an entire album side had to be recorded in one take without stopping. The short-lived revival of this process produced albums of exquisite sound, but they had to be limited edition due to the limited wear the few disc masters could endure in the manufacturing process. Fortunately, the masters were either in great condition or the session was also taped on reels as well, because the identical six songs (played in the same order) are heard in alternate versions on this expanded CD reissue. The ease with which Parlan and Raney handle "Hi-Fly" over Little's walking bass is the mark of masters, while the bittersweet air of the bossa nova "Once I Loved" is carried by the guitarist. The alternate takes are just as viable as the masters, so it must have been difficult for producer Nils Winther to choose between them when the original LP was being prepared.

Biography

Born: 19 January 1931 in Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Horace Parlan overcame physical disability and thrived as a pianist despite it. His right hand was partially disabled by polio in his childhood, but Parlan made frenetic, highly rhythmic right hand phrases part of his characteristic style, contrasting them with striking left-hand chords. He also infused blues and R&B influences into his style, playing in a stark, sometimes somber fashion. Parlan has always cited Ahmad Jamal and Bud Powell as prime influences. He began playing in R&B bands during...
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Hi-Fly, Horace Parlan
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