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Dave "Fingers" Makenna (Remastered)

Dave McKenna

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Album Review

Dave McKenna is at his best playing solo piano, as on this two-day session in the studio from 1977. McKenna's strength lies in his basslines and his ability to uplift tunes that often sound hackneyed in the hands of lesser musicians, such as "My Melancholy Baby" and "Somebody Stole My Gal," both of which find the pianist at his most inventive. Also present are overlooked gems like Zez Confrey's "Stumbling" and Irving Berlin's moving ballad "All Alone," played with the melodic swing that jazz fans have come to expect of McKenna. This long-unavailable LP was finally reissued on CD in 2000, with the addition of five bonus tracks, including a loping but brisk treatment of Bob Wills' Texas swing hit "San Antonio Rose" as well as obscurities like the rollicking "Somebody Else Is Taking My Place" and "Willie the Weeper." This solo piano CD should be considered essential by fans of swing.

Biography

Born: 30 May 1930 in Woonsocket, RI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the top swing-based pianists of the past 25 years, Dave McKenna's hard-driving basslines give momentum to uptempo pieces, and his vast knowledge of superior songs from the 1930s has resulted in many rewarding albums of traditional but fresh music. Although talented from the start, McKenna did not achieve that much recognition until he was already in his forties. He joined the Musicians' Union when he was 15 and picked up early experience playing with Boots Mussulli (1947), Charlie Ventura...
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