Art, Oscar, Dave, and Dick.. Hmmmm. Dick Wellstood is popping up everywhere nearly 13 years after his unfortunate death. The Arbor release Dick Wellstood Live at the Sticky Wicket was selected as one of the best jazz recordings of the 1990s. Al White, in his book Jazz Party devotes several pages to the pianist. And now this most excellent solo recital recorded in 1981 at the New York club Hanratty's. I count Wellstood in the same company as Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Dave McKenna. All have a sinful amount of talent. Wellstood, I feel, has the best taste of how to use his talent- that is sparingly. While I marvel at Tatum and his harmonic explosions, I often find my self distracted by them. The same goes for Oscar Peterson. Dick Wellstood adds just enough show-off with out going overboard.
Wellstone's style might be described as thorough. He excels in all forms of piano jazz from Louis Moreau Gottschalk (who I consider the natural source of synthesis), through Scott Joplin, to James P. Johnson, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Earl Hines and beyond. All styles are well represented musically, but Wellstone's stylistic center is firmly in the '20s and '30s. He pays close attention to Sidney Bechet this time around, offering "Quincy Street Stomp", "Georgia Cabin" and "Ghost of the Blues" as proof of allegiance. Tin Pan Alley is traversed with Cole Porter ("So In Love"), Don Redman (Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You") and Harold Arlen ("My Shining Hour" in stride).
Dick Wellstone was a happy kitten on the keys. A true treasure. Let's hope there is more music like this lurking somewhere.
Track Listing: Cha Cha for Charlie; I Wish I Were Twins; Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You; Quincy Street Stomp; Barbara song; How Could I Be Blue; Georgia Cabin/Ghost of the Blues; Ain't Misbehavin'; Deed I Do/ Georgia On My Mind/Don't Let Me Bother Me; I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket; Looking At You/You've Been A Good Ole Wagon; Runnin' Wild; So In Love; Everyone Loves My Baby; A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody; Coronet Chop Suey; My Shining Hour. (Total Time: 70:25)
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!