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Solo Piano

Dave McKenna

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Album Review

Prior to 1973, pianist Dave McKenna had not recorded as a leader in a decade and it was this particular album (now available on CD with two additional songs and a few alternate takes) that helped him gain recognition for his brilliant playing; it would be followed by three other Chiaroscuro dates and a countless number of sets for Concord. A couple of attempts at uplifting current material aside ("Norwegian Wood" and "My Cherie Amour" do not fit McKenna's sound), this solo performance finds the pianist displaying his fully formed swing style on a variety of superior tunes, including a three-part "Have You Met Miss Jones Sequence.")

Customer Reviews

Solo Piano

I was delighted when I found that this classic album had been issued on CD after a long absence from the market. I have enjoyed this music for many years and am very excited about the availability of the previously un-issued tracks that appear here for the first time. This CD is a testament to the brilliant artistry of a true virtuoso and stylistic innovator in the solo jazz piano realm. Mr. McKenna has never gained the widespread recognition that he not only deserves but that his extraordinary abilities command. Musicians who are familiar with his playing commonly make reference to the many innovations that he has contributed to solo jazz playing. It is interesting to note that the world renowned Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, known for it’s cutting edge repertoire chose to transcribe and orchestrate (for a 15 piece band) Mr. McKenna’s improvisation on the first track of this CD “C Jam Blues”. While listening to this CD it is sometimes hard to imagine that what you are hearing is being played by only one pianist (no overdubs or multi-tracking)! In addition to all of this, his perfectly articulated single note improvisations swing relentlessly in a style that is all his own. This CD is a perfect introduction to a pianist who has set a new standard for solo “Swing Jazz” piano. I hope that all students of jazz piano will take advantage of this excellent opportunity to learn from a true master of the art. All others, just enjoy some of the most exhilarating jazz piano playing that you are ever likely to hear!

Biography

Born: May 30, 1930 in Woonsocket, RI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the top swing-based pianists of the past 25 years, Dave McKenna's hard-driving basslines give momentum to uptempo pieces, and his vast knowledge of superior songs from the 1930s has resulted in many rewarding albums of traditional but fresh music. Although talented from the start, McKenna did not achieve that much recognition until he was already in his forties. He joined the Musicians' Union when he was 15 and picked up early experience playing with Boots Mussulli (1947), Charlie Ventura...
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Solo Piano, Dave McKenna
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