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Remebering Bobby Darin

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Album Review

If anyone bridged the gap between traditional jazz-influenced pop and early rock & roll, it was Bobby Darin. Some of his work appealed to the Frank Sinatra/Tony Bennett/Sammy Davis, Jr./Dean Martin crowd, while some of it appealed to the Elvis Presley/Chuck Berry/Jerry Lee Lewis crowd — and that is in addition to the singer's folk-rock output. Stylistically, Darin was not easy artist to pin down, which means that anyone providing a Darin tribute has a wide variety of things to choose from. Roger Kellaway, much to his credit, acknowledges different sides of Darin's artistry on Remembering Bobby Darin. Recorded in 2004, Remembering Bobby Darin is a companion to the veteran pianist's other Darin tribute, I Was There: Roger Kellaway Plays from the Bobby Darin Songbook. But while I Was There is an album of unaccompanied solo piano performances, Remembering Bobby Darin finds Kellaway forming a cohesive, intimate trio with guitarist Bruce Forman and bassist Dan Lutz. If you're seriously into Nat King Cole, that drumless combination of instrumentals should sound familiar; Cole favored a piano/guitar/bass format when he led the legendary Nat King Cole Trio in the '30s and '40s. And that format serves Kellaway pleasingly well on this far-reaching CD, which ranges from the Darin smash "Beyond the Sea" to older standards like Duke Ellington's "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "I've Found a New Baby." Kellaway celebrates Darin's swing side with an intriguing version of "Mack the Knife" (also known as "Moritat" or "Three Penny Opera") but savors Darin's rock & roll side on "Splish Splash," which the lyrical pianist performs in a Gene Harris-like fashion. I Was There and Remembering Bobby Darin are both excellent and well worth owning, but this release has a slight edge in the diversity department and reminds you just how impressively versatile Darin was.

Biography

Born: November 1, 1939 in Newton, MA

Genre: Jazz

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

A virtuosic pianist whose phenomenal technique rivals Dick Hyman's, Roger Kellaway's work in commercial settings prior to the 1980s led to him being initially overlooked in the jazz world. He played piano and bass at the New England Conservatory (1957-1959) and actually left school to play bass with Jimmy McPartland. Switching permanently to piano, Kellaway picked up experience working with Kai Winding, Al Cohn/Zoot Sims, and Clark Terry/Bob Brookmeyer (1963-1965). He recorded with many players,...
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