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How My Heart Sings

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Album Review

Earl Zindars is a talented but obscure songwriter who is best known for a few songs that were recorded by Bill Evans in the 1970s. Pianist Bill Cunliffe, who was only slightly familiar with Zindars' work until a year before the release of How My Heart Sings, has done the jazz world a strong favor by recording ten of Zindars' best numbers for the album, arranging them in inventive fashion for his sextet. Sometimes the post-bop renditions are slightly reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's Speak Like a Child album or Hancock's late-'60s sextet, but there are also swinging sections and plenty of originality along with utilization of tricky time signatures. The ballad "Return to Love," a complex reworking of "Heads or Tails," and "Elsa" are among the high points, while the band gets to stretch out a bit on "Earl's Blues." Justin Ray's flügelhorn is added to the group's sound on two numbers. Overall, this set is a gem, giving today's listeners some fresh "new" music, and today's jazz musicians a few more choices to add to their repertoire. Highly recommended.


Born: June 26, 1956 in Lawrence, MA

Genre: Jazz

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

One of the more promising pianists based in the L.A. area, Bill Cunliffe has been careful to have each of his recordings display its own personality. He won the 1989 Thelonious Monk jazz piano award, for a time led the fusion band Porcupine, works with Natalie Cole and in the studios, and is a regular member of both the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Clayton Brothers Quartet. Cunliffe's recordings for Discovery have included A Paul Simon Songbook (on which he turned a dozen of...
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How My Heart Sings, Bill Cunliffe
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