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Album Review

They were fixtures on New York's fabled 52nd Street in the mid-'50s, a crack piano trio consisting of McPartland on piano, bassist-turned-author Bill Crow, and then-little-known ace drummer Joe Morello. But in 1957, Dave Brubeck made Morello famous by astutely hiring him away from McPartland, then Crow joined Gerry Mulligan's sextet, and the engagement at the Hickory House ended in 1960. Much later, after two brief one-off reunions in the '90s, McPartland put together a couple of nights with the trio at the new Birdland, and they turned out a lovely, relaxed set of standards and one quirky McPartland original, "Cymbalism." It is a special pleasure to hear Morello who has appeared on only a handful of recordings in the previous quarter-century. Morello plays in a more laconic yet still ineffably swinging way than he once did, and Crow gets in lively, dancing solos on "Falling in Love With Love" and "Tickle Toe." Appropriately enough, one of the tunes is Brubeck's "In Your Own Sweet Way" where McPartland incorporates a few shadings in Brubeck's manner and Morello's brushes sound right at home. It's a nice souvenir that recalls a treasured time, one that doesn't sound at all quaint today. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Classic Marian, Bill, and Joe Mo...fantastic.still.again

I love this album, as it is all that good jazz should be. It swings (to the moon!), and has great interplay among these three extraordinary musicians. Being a drummer and long-time fan of the old Dave Brubeck Quartet, I'm always listening for what Joe Mo does best. There is a distinct feel to this album that screams "live performance" and absolutely ~never~ disappoints. Was there ever a better, less obvious bass player than Bill Crow? I cannot believe Marian McPartland can still swing as she does; She ain't getting older--just better. Her tasteful melodic lines (such as on "Tickle Toe") are spot on (Joe Mo lays down a great rhythm with Bill Crow climbing all over the neck of his flawless bass, too). It's probably a toss up, but my fave on this album is "Things Ain't What They Used to Be"--or maybe "Tickle Toe, or perhaps that endlessly odd, "Cymbalism" (which one might think is heavy on Joe Mo (partially true), but that one would definitely be missing the real point of the chart..

Reprise (Live), Marian McPartland's Hickory House Trio
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