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Bill Mays spent the majority of 1970s accompanying Sarah Vaughan and Al Jarreau. Lately he has performing on film scores. His talent in these settings is understated and perhaps one must first approach Mr. Mays's art from Live At Maybeck Recital Hall, Volume 26 (Concord Jazz CCD 4567, 1992). On Going Home, Mr. Mays is joined by drummer Matt Wilson, who himself has recently released a warmly-received solo outing on Palmetto, Humidity . This recording is a solid trio outing replete with fine soloing by all concerned. The disc is evenly divided between standards and originals, the latter focusing on a muse provided by Mays' summer home in Shoholo, PA.
Wilson and bassist Martin Wind fill out the trio effectively, providing a bit of rock 'n' roll to the disc closer.
Mays sings "I'm a Homebody" like a Broadway lyricist singing Mose Allison. His approach is very unique, very idiosyncratic, and absolutely unmistakable. Sprinkled within is a bouncy, "You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To" and a very reflective "Going Home," perhaps the best jazz treatment of Dvorak's beautiful melody since Art Tatum's. Palmetto continues to provide some of the most provocative mainstream jazz today, and this disc is a prime example.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.