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Album Review

One of the main reasons why this tribute to the Nat King Cole Trio by Kirk Lightsey is a success is that Lightsey (who is from a much later bop-influenced generation) sounds nothing like Cole. Featured in a trio with guitarist Kevin Eubanks and bassist Rufus Reid, Lightsey performs a set of music reminiscent of Cole but several of the songs (including his original "Kirk's Blues," "Never Let Me Go" and "Close Enough for Love") were never actually recorded by Cole; Lightsey takes surprisingly effective vocals on the latter two songs.


Born: 15 February 1937 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

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

A pianist who is not a trendsetter but is consistently excellent, Kirk Lightsey long ago developed his own sound within the hard bop tradition. He started playing piano when he was five, although he also played clarinet while in high school. Lightsey worked in Detroit and California in the early '60s, often accompanying singers. He gained some attention in 1965 when he recorded with Sonny Stitt and was on five Prestige records with Chet Baker. However, Lightsey mostly had low-profile gigs until he...
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