All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
In reviewing favorably an earlier release by Swiss pianist Stewy von Wattenwyl’s trio ( To the Point, also on Stewy’s own Brambus Records label), I closed with this observation: “As a more accurate barometer of their interpretive prowess, I’d love to hear them take a whack at some better–known material, perhaps a few songs from the standard repertoire.” To my surprise (and delight), Stewy gladly accepted the challenge, placing Cole Porter’s “Everything I Love” at the heart of his third album as leader, which he sets in motion with a sultry Ahmad Jamal–like treatment of Don Raye/Gene DePaul’s “I’ll Remember April.” Von Wattenwyl also interprets the standards “I Fall in Love Too Easily” and “Speak Low,” the Billy Strayhorn classic ”Lush Life” and Antonio Carlos Jobim’s familiar samba, “O Grande Amor,” raising no cause for doubt this time that he’s a remarkably talented young pianist. Completing the program are two of von Wattenwyl’s compositions (“Yes for You,” “Dance on the Hill”) and one each by drummer Horisberger (“Take Care”) and bassist Schläppi (“Voices”). They’re passable, but hardly in the same league with their better–known companion pieces. “Speak Low,” with its shifting time signatures and emphatic solos by von Wattenwyl and Horisberger, and the incomparable “Lush Life,” on which Stewy plays unaccompanied, are especially captivating. On both, von Wattenwyl shows his willingness to modify established patterns and take some risks, almost — but not quite — painting himself into a corner at the end of “Speak Low.” The title selection, taken at mid–tempo with Horisberger on brushes and von Wattenwyl poised and lyrical, is another colorful feather in the trio’s cap. Von Wattenwyl appears to have a bright future, in Switzerland and — who knows? — even beyond.
Track listing: I’ll Remember April; Take Care; Everything I Love; Voices; I Fall in Love Too Easily; Yes for You; Speak Low; Lush Life; O Grande Amor; Dance on the Hill (58:10).
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.