Just five months before he passed away last year at the age of 85, guitarist George Van Eps performed a few Father’s Day quartet sets at a small restaurant near his home in Southern California with local artists. Sharing a memory with the audience of bouncing on George Gershwin’s knee as a small child, Van Eps reminded everyone that classic songs live forever. Kenny Poole’s tribute to Van Eps features a sense of style similar to the master’s: gentle swinging melodies, supportive harmony, and a walking bass line that comes from the extra effort applied to the guitar’s lowest string. John Von Ohlen lends his brushwork and Dick Sisto provides a vibes stretch for five tracks; the other numbers feature Poole’s solo guitar.
Adding the essential elements of melody, harmony, and rhythm with swing, Poole states the familiar tunes and works his way smoothly through improvised extras. The rhythm of his guitar walking-bass self-accompaniment works well, especially on the bossa "Ah! Se Eu Pudesse." The guitarist even adds a brief bass line solo to "Lullabye of Birdland." Like Van Eps, Poole swings the session in predictable but comfortable fashion.
Track Listing: Just You, Just Me; Come Rain or Come Shine; You Make Me Feel So Young; Gone With the Wind; Gee Baby, Ain
Personnel: Kenny Poole- guitar; John Von Ohlen- drums; Dick Sisto- vibes.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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