How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
There are few greater champions of the old and new in jazz than pianist/club owner/musical antiquarian Spike Wilner. His role in resuscitating and running one of the most important night spots for jazz in New YorkSmalls Jazz Clubhas made him a hero to those who frequent that bastion of musical integrity, but he's also revered as an ivory tickling keeper-of-the-flame for musical styles of yesteryear. Stride piano and ragtime are at the root of his playing, but he also mixes modern sensibilities into his work, demonstrating a one-foot-in-the-past and one-foot-in-the-present musical philosophy.
Wilner's work blankets the entire history of jazz piano, as he moves from parlor playing and rent party romping to supper club elegance to modern manifestations with ease, but he still sounds best when working through old gems and giving nods to piano giants of the past. "If I Only Had A Brain" has a dainty design at first, but eventually bears the mark of Wilner's herothe cigar-smoking, derby-wearing Willie "The Lion" Smith
who can also frequently be found performing at Smallshave proven that "old" and "outmoded" are two very different things. Both men have made their mark by putting their chops and knowledge of early twentieth century piano stylings to good use on their respective dates for Posi-Tone. Now, it's high time for them to get together for a two-piano date, whether cutting contest or collaborative affair. Wouldn't that be something!?!
Track Listing: La Tendresse; If I Only Had A Brain; Solace; Silver Cord; Always; Lullaby Of The Leaves; After You've Gone; Le Sucrier Velours; Little Girl Blue; Crepuscule With Nellie; I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together; Happy Ending.