Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

490

Bill Mays: Mays at the Movies

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
Bill Mays has spent much of his career as a first-call studio pianist in Hollywood, accompanying singers like Sarah Vaughan and Al Jarreau, and playing on movie soundtracks. Moreover, his most recent CDs have involved his innovative third-stream group, The Inventions Trio, with trumpeter Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn. As a result, Mays's profile may be a bit lower than some who spend more time in the jazz performance spotlight. But he's also one of the most intelligent, fluent, and interesting players around. Mays never mucks with a tune just for the sake of putting a personal stamp on it—there's always the sense that thoughtful creative choices have been made



For example, in the opening "I've Never Been in Love Before," Mays changes the chord center four times, which not only adds new dimensions to an overplayed tune, but musically captures the blissful disorientation of the first-time lover. Similarly, on the next warhorse, "The Shadow of Your Smile," Mays's elegant, succinct playing strips years of schmaltz from the song; with the addition of the verse, he helps highlight its original beauty. Mays's compositional gifts are also on display here with the spirited "Judy," the tribute to his wife that's been heard in two movies so far.



The delightful Willie Wonka anthem, "Pure Imagination," has some temporal twists that bring out its lopsided structure (that nine-bar bridge, for instance), while this band digs deep into {Michel Legrand = 8674}}'s "The Summer Knows"—usually played as a ballad—and swings it hard. Mays also does his homework, going back to Alex North's version of his "Love Theme from Spartacus" to restore what many other pianists, including Bill Evans, choose to cut from the piece.



Given the consistently excellent quality of this music, it's surprising that this group didn't rehearse—until you consider the caliber of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Billy Drummond, both busy, classy players who enhance any number of trio recordings. The artful delegation of their splendid solos adds color on tunes like "There's a Small Hotel" and "Charade," the burning closer, as does Mays' playful but subtle quoting. All told, Mays at the Movies is a thoroughly engaging CD, providing more evidence that Mays's position in the top tier of pianists remains secure.


Track Listing: I've Never Been in Love Before; The Shadow of Your Smile; Pure Imagination; Love Theme from Spartacus; Judy; The Summer Knows; There's a Small Hotel; You Leave Me Breathless; Charade.

Personnel: Bill Mays: piano, vocal; Peter Washington: bass; Billy Drummond: drums.

Title: Mays at the Movies | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: SteepleChase Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Life's a Movie

Life's a Movie

Chiaroscuro Records
2014

buy
Life's a Movie

Life's a Movie

Chiaroscuro Records
2013

buy
Mays at the Movies

Mays at the Movies

SteepleChase Records
2010

buy
Fantasy

Fantasy

Palmetto Records
2007

buy
Live at Jazz Standard

Live at Jazz Standard

Palmetto Records
2005

buy
Going Home

Going Home

Palmetto Records
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review
Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard
by Doug Collette
Published: December 13, 2018
Read The Forest from Above CD/LP/Track Review
The Forest from Above
by John Eyles
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Imaginary Band CD/LP/Track Review
Imaginary Band
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 13, 2018
Read Night CD/LP/Track Review
Night
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: December 13, 2018
Read An Ayler Xmas Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
An Ayler Xmas Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2018
Read I Always Knew CD/LP/Track Review
I Always Knew
by Paul Rauch
Published: December 12, 2018
Read "There And Here" CD/LP/Track Review There And Here
by Anya Wassenberg
Published: July 26, 2018
Read "Across The Bridge" CD/LP/Track Review Across The Bridge
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 30, 2018
Read "Rats Live on No Evil Star" CD/LP/Track Review Rats Live on No Evil Star
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 27, 2018
Read "Golden Earrings" CD/LP/Track Review Golden Earrings
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 2, 2018
Read "Meander" CD/LP/Track Review Meander
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 6, 2018
Read "Bricks" CD/LP/Track Review Bricks
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 17, 2017