CD Gershwin for Lovers (CD 397182),
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Gershwin for Lovers
1. Foggy Day, A
2. Man I Love, The
3. Our Love Is Here to Stay
5. Someone to Watch Over Me
6. It Ain't Necessarily So
7. Nice Work If You Can Get It
8. They Can't Take That Away From Me
9. How Long Has This Been Going On?
10. But Not For Me
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 66437
Personnel: Marcus Roberts (piano); Reginald Veal (bass); Herlin Riley, Jr.
Recorded at Main Street Music, Inc., Dooley's Down Under and Blue Moon Studios, Tallahassee, Florida. Includes liner notes by Tom Piazza.
GERSHWIN FOR LOVERS is the kind of refined, multi-dimensional piano recital one might expect from a pianist twice Roberts' age. Where previous recitals reflected his fascination with the stride tradition, on GERSHWIN FOR LOVERS Roberts sounds less like a young pianist rummaging around in the attic for venerable stylings, than a mature modern keyboardist who has developed a very personal approach to the entire tradition (save for the post-modern stylings of Herbie Nichols, Cecil Taylor, Andrew Hill and the like).
What makes this music distinctive is Roberts feeling for contrasting tempos, colors and juxtapositions of mood, sometimes within the course of a single tune. Very few of his improvisations retain a single mood, and the decision to do a Gershwin recital offers him a hooky set of familiar themes, plus a harmonic palette unparalleled in the history of the American song.
Roberts' closed voicings and impressionistic variations are animated by his elegant touch and congenial sense of form and development, especially notable on the closing "But Not For Me" where he enunciates the theme in a subtractive manner, with coy Monkish accents. Roberts develops his solo with sly, understated lines and odd rhythmic displacements, building to a two-handed big band finish in the manner of Red Garland before engaging bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Herlin Riley in a sly rhythmic exchange. Elsewhere, there's the crystalline introspection of "A Foggy Day," the deep ardor of "The Man I Love," the Ellingtonian contrasts of "Someone To Watch Over Me," and the wily Afro-cubist bluesiness of "It Ain't Necessarily So."
Entertainment Weekly (9/30/94, p.60) - "...Pianist Roberts tackles 10 of Gershwin's most familiar tunes--about half rendered with sufficient imagination, freshness, and flair to justify recording them again..." - Rating: B
Down Beat (11/94, pp.44-45) - 3 Stars - Good - "...gives you the feeling of a Sunday afternoon in the parlor with one of the 'piano professors' tinkling amiably....generally takes the minimalist approach, occasionally growing more expansive....'nice work' describes this whole album..."
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Columbia (USA) 66437
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