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Album Review

Joan Stiles shines throughout this pair of 2005 sessions that make up her second CD as a leader. The pianist recruited a first-rate band, including Steve Wilson (alto sax), Joel Frahm (tenor sax), trumpeter/flugelhornist Jeremy Pelt, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis Nash then treated them to her inspiring arrangements and originals. Her wild, amusing "The Brilliant Corners of Thelonious' Jumpin' Jeep" minglesMonk's "Brilliant Corners" and "Thelonious" with Johnny Hodges' "The Jeep Is Jumpin'" in an unusual tapestry that utilizes counterpoint to play one theme off another. Wilson is showcased in a fresh post-bop treatment of Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" that retains its composer's playful attitude. Stiles salutes Mary Lou Williams with her inventive original composition "Hurly-Burly," a challenging bop vehicle that is worthy of comparison to the late Williams' work. She also revisits Williams' unjustly obscure "Knowledge," along with a side-spitting vocal of the late pianist's "In the Land of the Oo-Bla-Dee." Stiles also is an impressive soloist, especially in her unaccompanied take of "'Round Midnight" that incorporates a bit of Chopin in her bassline. Highly recommended!


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

In New York City jazz circles, the bop-oriented Joan Stiles is not only known for her lyrical and melodic piano playing -- she is also known for her skills and talents as a bandleader, arranger, and producer. Stiles (who occasionally does some singing but is primarily an instrumentalist) isn't the sort of jazz artist who is only interested in going to jam sessions and showing listeners how fast she can soar through the chord changes of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" or Sonny Rollins' "Oleo"; she has...
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Hurly-Burly, Joan Stiles
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