Richard Wyands: As Long As There's Music

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Richard Wyands: As Long As There's Music If you could use some joy in your life, try As Long As There’s Music, a piano trio CD featuring pianist Richard Wyands with bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Grady Tate.

Mr. Wyands has the storytelling aspect of music down pat. Whether it is the romantic conflict in "What’s New" (solo piano), the crisp swing of "Focus," or the exquisite evolution of love in "Stairway to the Stars," he reveals the action, the emotion, and the spirit of each episode of life presented in a song. It’s obvious that Mr. Wyands knows the lyrics to the songs, as he expresses the situations so clearly.

The most valuable part of art—what it has to do with what we as human beings go through passing through life—and what insight the artist offers to us about that—is often left out these days. It is gratifying to find As Long As There’s Music, a work that has that interpretive talent in its essence.

Born in Oakland, CA, Wyands went to San Francisco State College and came to New York in 1958, where he worked at Minton’s and many other clubs. He has performed around the world and recorded with many stars, including Roy Haynes, Oliver Nelson, Etta Jones, Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet and Slam Stewart. Mr. Wyands recorded as a leader for Criss Cross, Steeplechase and DIW. Perhaps justifying its name, Savant provides Wyands’ American label debut as a leader.

Light is very important element in Mr. Wyands’ playing, and it is there in his tone quality (gleaming), in his emotional timbre (radiance) and his articulation (crisp). The sound of "love"—not love lost, not love yearned for, but love itself—the giving kind— there is an abundance of that feeling in his artistic pallette. There is not that much hope depicted in modern art, yet the kind of magnificent love expressed in "Stairway to the Stars" is full of hope and faith. It imbues the CD with exuberance in "Stolen Sweets," "As Long As There’s Music," and the gaiety of "Drop Me Off in Harlem," (which has nothing to do with the absence of strife or hard times—there was a lot of gaiety in Harlem during the period this Ellington song was written, as well as despair). It is the kind of gaiety that spits in the face of hard times and bounces back from sorrow—it has the rebellious quality that says, "I’m not gonna let you get me down, you dirty dog."

Wyands is a rare artist who has assimilated swing, blues, bebop, hard bop, progressive, cool, etc. and evolved a seamless, unique style. Swing is the thing on this recording, so you leave feeling satisfied as if you had a good home-cooked meal—with no regrets. Added bonus: Wyands does not seem to play extra notes. As Long As There’s Music is a disc you can play for the rest of your life and leave for your kids and grandkids to enjoy.

Track Listing: 1. Stolen Sweets (W.S. Davis/D. Thompson); 2. As Long As There

Personnel: Richard Wyands: Piano; Ray Drummond: Bass; Grady Tate: Drums.

Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Savant Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Meditations" CD/LP/Track Review Meditations
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "Ensam" CD/LP/Track Review Ensam
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 26, 2016
Read "In Case Of Fire" CD/LP/Track Review In Case Of Fire
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 17, 2016
Read "windS" CD/LP/Track Review windS
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Alameda Gardens" CD/LP/Track Review Alameda Gardens
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 22, 2016
Read "Storming Through the South" CD/LP/Track Review Storming Through the South
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!