From jazz's modern mainstream, this duo performance provides free interpretations of classic songs. Pianist Phillip Strange fills each selection with anxious energy while drummer Larry Marshall complements with intuitive colors. The performance runs loose and laid back as both artists reflect on familiar melodies with widespread animation. The performance rises and falls as befits each interpretation, with the mood shifting continuously. There's ample beauty in each portrait.
Strange, who has won four Downbeat Student Music Awards, exhibits superb keyboard mastery and a disciplined approach to dynamics. He captures the essence of a song through exaggerated changes in its emotional level. From a shout to a whisper, he ensures that each piece gets its due.
Take Five remains one of those all-time favorites that we like to keep around year after year. Strange and Marshall give it a unique overcoat that wins new friends and influences people through its free jazz approach. No one has ever done it this way before, and they've come up with a sure winner. That's what jazz is for. The duo's title track mellows gently for an extended period of lazy relaxation with a few built-in emotional surges. Strange's "My Paradise, "Absinthe, and "Brazilian Heart follow the same code, combining somber reflections with assertive forays. Pianist and drummer employ shifting moods that appear as natural as the wind.
Through their classic song interpretations and original pieces, Strange and Marshall give their audience a recommended moment of reflection that comes equipped with the stuff that dreams are made of.
Track Listing: The Old Country; Interlude; Take Five; In the Moment; Brazilian Heart; I Remember You; Absinthe; Have You Met Miss Jones?; Someday My Prince Will Come; My Paradise.
Personnel: Phillip Strange: piano; Larry Marshall: drums.
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.