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Fatha's Day

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Album Review

John Hicks' fifth tribute CD for High Note honors yet another pianist associated with the city of Pittsburgh, the great Earl Fatha Hines. Once again Hicks is joined by his favorite sidemen, bassist Dwayne Dolphin and drummer Cecil Brooks III. Like his earlier releases in this series, Hicks plays a number of songs written by, or indelibly associated with, the musician he salutes, though there are a couple of exceptions. Two tracks were leftovers from the sessions for Nightwind: An Erroll Garner Songbook, though one could have easily imagined how Hines might have approached the lovely ballad "Almost Spring," or Hicks' swinging blues on "Twelve Bars for Linton," which is dedicated to Garner's older but lesser-known brother. But the heart of this CD consists of the leader's enjoyable renditions of Hines' favorites. Hicks doesn't try to mimic Hines' approach to the keyboard, instead recasting each song in a bop format while maintaining a swinging feeling. The driving mid-tempo setting of "My Monday Date," and the moving duet with Dolphin on "You Can Depend on Me," are also first-rate performances. The leader also contributed several originals, including the stride-flavored solo "Remembering Earl and Marva," which refers to Hines and singer Marva Josie (misspelled "Joseph" in the liner notes), who toured and recorded together in the early 1970s, as well as the tender ballad "Fatha's Bedtime Story." More than a few jazz musicians could learn how to make tribute CDs by listening gems such as this one by John Hicks.


Born: 12 December 1941 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: Jazz

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

A longtime fixture of the New York City jazz landscape, pianist John Hicks was an artist of uncommon versatility, moving effortlessly from pop standards to the avant-garde while retaining the dense physicality and intense energy that were the hallmarks of his approach. Born December 12, 1941, in Atlanta, Hicks was still an infant when his preacher father relocated the family to Los Angeles. He spent the better part of his teen years in St. Louis, and counted among his classmates there the young Lester...
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Fatha's Day, John Hicks
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