When Mike Melvoin is not busy as musical director of the Grammy's, or is otherwise occupied conducting, arranging or scoring for films, he returns to his first love, jazz in the be-bop mode. Anyway you look at it Mike Melvoin is a brilliant Pianist who jazz chops are alive and well. Brian Bromberg coaxes every possible sound that can be achieved on the Bass. Nobody yawns when he plays, that's for sure. John Guerin is a Drummer who speaks volumes in discretion and taste on his instrument. Guerin is a blue ribbon player and one young Percussionists would do well to listen to. 'There Is No Greater Love'.. The caressing of the keys and the touch of Mike Melvoin is a thing of beauty on this tune. Brian Bromberg adds his magic and Guerin shines on the exchanges with the leader. 'The Melody Is You'.. A Melvoin original done with the utmost feeling and without the morbid inflections of say, a Bill Evans. 'You And The Night And The Music' is reminiscent of the Bud Powell / Lenore Raphael modus operendi and Bromberg rides again. 'North Star' Piano virtuosity reigns supreme in this dreamy piece. 'I'll Never Smile Again' Ruth Lowe's ode to the loss of her husband is given a nice treatment by the leader and the swing chorus adds another dimension. Splendid musical painting on a canvas of perfect changes. (Lowe remarried not long after penning this tune) 'Oh Baby'.... Oh Baby is right, this is bop till you drop. There is joy in this composition. The purists will love and if you're not of the pure school, you'll love it anyway.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.