123

Oliver Jones: Have Fingers, Will Travel

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Oliver Jones: Have Fingers, Will Travel Nearly 70 minutes of awe-inspiring technical brilliance and emphatic swinging at any and all tempos by Canada's "other" wizard of the contemporary Jazz piano, Oliver Jones. The comparisons to Oscar Peterson are inescapable, so let's dispense with them first. Yes, Jones did study piano with Oscar's sister, Daisy; yes, his command of the keyboard and his apparently endless profusion of inventive twists and turns rival those of the master himself; and yes, he and his sidemen - bassist Ray Brown, drummer Jeff Hamilton - sound very much like . . . well, the Oscar Peterson Trio. You have a problem with that? If so, move on. As for me, I believe that two Oscars are better than one - even if one is named Oliver - and if Oliver Jones or anyone else can sit down at a piano and do what Oscar Peterson does, that's good enough for me - and should be good enough for anyone else. Besides, even though Jones sounds like Peterson much of the time, he isn't playing precisely the same notes in the same sequence. Like snowflakes, no two Jazz interpretations are ever exactly alike (unless someone is purposely duplicating someone else's work, as SuperSax does with Bird, for example), so one invariably hears fresh statements from Jones, even though Peterson's massive shadow remains ever-present. On the bracing opener, Jones's "D.B.G. Blues," one might swear it was Oscar and not Oliver at the keyboard, but the music is no less exciting or seductive because of it. Jones is a marvelous interpreter of ballads, and is especially impressive - playing unaccompanied - on Rodgers and Hart's "My Romance," which closes the session. The other ballads, each of which he embraces with great care and tenderness, are "Street of Dreams," "I'm Through with Love," "Without a Song" and two of his own compositions, "Yvonne" and "Beautiful Jayde." Writing is another sphere in which Jones excels; the ballads are truly lovely, while the two blues and the fast-moving "Snowy Peaks" are more than bare-bones carcasses on which to feed. Rather than try to match Peterson stride-for-stride - which he is capable of doing - Jones opens wide the throttle only on "D.B.G. Blues," "If I Were a Bell" and "Snowy Peaks." Elsewhere, he's content to let his unflagging intelligence and good taste speak for themselves, which they do eloquently. Those same qualities animate Jones's rhythm section. Brown, praised by almost everyone in Jazz as one of the world's premier bassists, spent many years with Peterson's trio, while the impeccably astute Hamilton was a mainstay in Brown's trio of several years back with pianist Benny Green. They know each other well, and it shows. So there you have it - a conspicuously talented and admirably cohesive group that sounds like the Oscar Peterson trio but isn't. I'll buy that.

Track Listing:

D.B.G. Blues; Yvonne; Street of Dreams; If I Were a Bell; I'm Through with Love; Late Afternoon Blues; Without a Song; Charlie B.; Snowy Peaks; Beautiful Jayde; My Romance (69:03).

Personnel:

Oliver Jones, piano; Ray Brown, bass; Jeff Hamilton, drums.

Title: Have Fingers, Will Travel | Year Released: 1998


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Nerve Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Nerve Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 2, 2017
Read "The Many Minds of Richie Cole" CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Absurdist Theater" CD/LP/Track Review Absurdist Theater
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "Before The Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "El Toro" CD/LP/Track Review El Toro
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 20, 2016
Read "George DeLancey" CD/LP/Track Review George DeLancey
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.