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Just Me, Just You...

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Album Review

Veteran jazz pianist Larry Ham has had golden opportunities over the years to perform with vintage and classic jazz musicians, from Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet, Eddie Locke, and Earl May, and has been a sideman on several CDs for the Arbors label. Now it is Ham's time as he presents his first effort, a solo piano recording. While a daunting task in having no accompanists, Ham pulls it off with a set of beautiful, affable, and attentively constructed standards, including a handful of originals. The unhurried quality of this date is unmistakable and welcome in the rat race society. More so, his smart way of thinking through these tunes goes beyond simplicity while also not being so complex as to ignore basic melodies. What Ham offers is a distinctly seasoned and historically accurate program that displays good common sense and practiced, well-rendered jazz that any listener — younger or older — can relate to. Of Ham's three originals, "Brenda's Waltz" is a modern modal tune, "Ridin' the Blues" a loping down-home song, and "The Ring" a sincere, poignant, heartfelt proposal to wed in waltz time. Just for fun, he tosses in the calypso "Don't Mess wit' Nobody But Me," throws staggered gallop phrases at "Just You, Just Me," and joyously bounces along during the fleet and inventive "My Shining Hour," the best track. Of the more developed pieces, Ham lets the melody of Bud Powell's on "I'll Keep Loving You" unfold graciously, but injects some stride-like nuances. "If I Should Lose You" begins in a slow pleading manner, but turns bubbly and hopeful. Included are good swingers, very slow if not dainty torch songs, and the kind of unpretentious professionalism you should expect from a skilled musician. Realizing patience is a virtue of the highest order, Larry Ham's innate common sense of swing makes this a delightful date. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Just Me, Just You..., LARRY HAM
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jun 04, 2008

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