15 Songs, 1 Hour 43 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

Pearl N Bunda

Somwhere Whitman Is Smiling

A wonderful melding of Whitman's words and the artform of Jazz. A 2 cd set at just under 100 minutes, Diall & Oatts offer the most bang for your buck that's come arond in a while. Highlights include :To One Shortly To Die", featuring Terre Roche on vocals, a song celebrating death as inevitable and beautiful, that ends with a tempo shift from ballad to swinging 3/4 and the chourus singing gleefully, "I do not commiserate, I congratulate you." It is followed by "Sometimes With One I Love", a lovely bossa nova to Whitman's proclamation that there is no such thing as unreturned love. "Yet out of that I have written these songs" may be the defining line of the entire cd. The beautiful "Reconciliation with it's operatic baritone sung by LaMarcus Miller and fantastic piano by Dial has a moodiness tha reminds me of Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat". The cd closes with "O You Whom I Often And Silently Come", showing the shared roots of blues, gospel, and jazz and perfectly linking Whitman's work to all mankind. An extremely uplifting experience with each of the many listens I've given to this cd in the short time that I've had it. Somewhere Whitman is smiling.

About Dial & Oatts

Pianist, composer, producer, and teacher Garry Dial and saxophonist Dick Oatts had already put together impressive résumés before joining together to form the post-bop duo Dial & Oatts in 1990. A native of Iowa, Oatts joined the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra soon after moving to New York in 1972. Since then, he's gone on to work with a diverse range of jazz and Latin musicians including Eddie Gomez, Jerry Bergonzi, Lester Bowie, Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Paquito D'Rivera, Tito Puente, and Gunther Schuller.

A member of the Red Rodney/Ira Sullivan Quintet in the late '70s and early '80s, Dial appeared on the group's Grammy-nominated albums Live at the Village Vanguard in 1980 and Ira Sullivan Does It All in 1981. In addition to brief stints as pianist for James Moody and Gerry Mulligan, he played on three albums and a video by folk-pop trio the Roches. A longtime student of Duke Ellington's piano playing, he was chosen by Ellington's widow, Ruth, to perform and record Ellington's complete catalog for the Ellington family library. Recording a solo album, Never Is Now, in 1987, Dial produced, composed, and played piano for Australian duo James Morrison and Ken Done's album, Postcards from Down Under, two years later.

Playing together since 1990, Dial and Oatts have released three memorable albums. Accompanied by bassist Jay Anderson, drummer Joey Baron, and a 30-piece string section on their debut self-titled album, they were backed by a ten-piece brass ensemble on their second outing, Brassworks. They returned to the jazz quartet format for Play Cole Porter, featuring the rhythm section of Anderson on bass and Jeff Hirschfield on drums.

Both Dial and Oatts remain active as teachers. Oatts has been teaching at the Manhattan School of Music since 1989, while Dial has been teaching piano, theory, and improvisation at both the New School of Social Research and Manhattan School of Music since 1990. Dial and Oatts collaborated to teach master classes at the Dutch Conservatory in Amsterdam, Holland, in 2002. ~ Craig Harris