Piano jazz is a lot like pizza; even when it’s terrible, it’s still fairly good. Case in point is Joe Bushkin, a fine pianist for Eddie Condon who later watered down his style to appeal to a mass audience in concerts such as this 1963 performance. One can almost hear more passionate pianists shaking their fist at Bushkin because they are far more deserving of the recognition.
To be fair, Bushkin is still a terrific pianist who can play as fast and as accurately as anyone out there, but one gets the sense that he is content to please an audience with technical wizardry and never seems to be working all that hard to be inventive. Guitarist Chuck Wayne seems to be the real treat, but is rendered inaudible most of the time except for a few brief solos (he seems to have difficulty finding a role in the context).
The program is standard fare for cocktail lounges and cabaretsGershwin, Berlin, Porterall delivered with a sense of importance and sweeping drama. None of this is all that bad, but can you really purchase this album when there’s so much other stuff out there that’s more accomplished and nuanced? Pick up a Bill Evans record instead.
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Personnel: Joe Bushkin-piano; Chuck Wayne-guitar; Ed Shaughnessy-percussion; Milt Hinton-bass.