Junior Mance: Sweet and Lovely (2004)
Sweet and Lovelyis a Fantasy twofer consisting of Mance's early '60s Jazzland recordings The Soulful Piano of Junior Mance (Jazzland 930) and Big Chief (Jazzland 953). Each original recording was collected at its own session ( The Soulful Piano on October 25, 1960; Big Chief on August 1, 1961). Because of time constraints, "The Seasons," originally released on Big Chief, is omitted from the current collection. No matter. Sweet and Lovely illustrates plainly how Mance integrated the organic funk of Timmons with the perfect accessibility of Harris. Both Mance and Harris, indeed, have a similar approach toward "Summertime," each providing their personal vision of barrelhouse piano playing, light years away from the piece's ballad roots. Mance funks out on "The Uptown" and Milt Jackson's "Ralph's New Blues." In fact, I will not accuse Mance of being a ballads player, though he is a capable balladeer. No, Junior Mance's long coat is the blues, and that is in abundant supply on Sweet and Lovely.
Track Listing: The Uptown; Ralph's New Blues; Main Stem; Darlin, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup; Playhouse; Sweet And Lovely; In The Land Of Oo-Bla-Dee; I Don't Care; Swingmatism; Big Chief!; Love For Sale; Fillet Of Soul; Swish; Summertime; Ruby My Dear; Little Miss Gail; Atlanta Blues.
Personnel: Junior Mance: piano; Ben Tucker: bass; Jimmy Rowser: bass; Bobby Thomas: drums; Paul Gusman: drums.
Record Label: Fantasy Jazz