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The Smallest Big Band Live

Hardin & York

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Album Review

For their second album, the keyboard-and-drum duo of Hardin & York decided to perform on their own, supported by no studio musicians. This had not been the case on their debut, Tomorrow Today, and the extra musicians inevitably obscured the unique sound of the pair, something that can't be said of this 1970 LP. The duo decided to take a dual route: to capture their softer, introspective piano side in the studio, then tear it up on organ in concert. This gives The World's Smallest Big Band a slightly lopsided feel — something that's not helped at all by the prominent crowd noise on the live medleys of the Beatles and early rock & roll — but if ever a record could show all the possibilities and limitations of a keyboard-and-drums duo, it's this, as it swings between the provocative and overbearing. Cherry Red's 2013 reissue adds a six-song radio session from June 1969 where the group plays with a full band and the sound is indeed fuller, richer than the proper album. Also added are two more live performances, this time from Germany in 1970.

The Smallest Big Band Live, Hardin & York
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