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Jazz In Paris, Vol. 95: Sammy Price & Doc Cheatham Play Gershwin

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Album Review

This compilation in Verve's Jazz in Paris reissue series contains two separate sessions led by Sammy Price. The first, from 1956, features 14 piano solos by Price, exploring standards, classic jazz compositions, and some originals as well, so the title of this reissue is a bit misleading. The influence of Fats Waller, Earl Hines, and Teddy Wilson is evident in several of the selections, though Price is clearly his own man. The miniature performances of "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Rosetta" are joyous, while the loping midtempo arrangement of "Willow Weep for Me" is both elegant and entertaining. His compositions are hardly throwaway filler material, especially the fascinating "Tata's Blues." Two years later, Price was touring Europe while leading a band, but brought only one member into the studio, trumpeter Doc Cheatham. The eight-song set from this session focuses exclusively on George Gershwin's songbook, though Cheatham sits out three numbers. Although "Oh, Lady Be Good" and "Summertime" are laudable, it is their inspired condensed arrangement of "Rhapsody in Blue" (which is barely over three minutes) that proves to be the highlight of their duo session. Since Price and Cheatham were active professionally for six and seven decades respectively, this disc catches each of them roughly in the middle of their careers. While Cheatham was probably more widely known at the end of his long life, the music by both men within this CD is well worth acquiring.


Born: June 13, 1905 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Doc Cheatham was without question the greatest 90-year old trumpeter of all time; in fact, no brass player over the age of 80 had ever played with his power, range, confidence, and melodic creativity. Most trumpeters fade while in their 60s due to the physical difficulty of their instrument, but Cheatham did not truly find himself as a soloist until he was nearly 70. Doc Cheatham's career reaches back to the early '20s, when he played in vaudeville theaters backing such traveling singers as Bessie...
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Jazz In Paris, Vol. 95: Sammy Price & Doc Cheatham Play Gershwin, Doc Cheatham
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