In visual art, nothing is more subtle than a pastel. Well, this album was perfectly titled, because few musical artists surpass the subtlety of Stan Hope's performance on this album. Rarely has the piano sounded more beautiful.
Perhaps best known as pianist for Etta Jones and Houston Person, Hope also performs regularly in Harlem and his home base of Queens. His solos with Jones and Person of course tend toward rootsy/creative but here the sound is less bluesy, except on the only original, "Hopeful Blues". As you'll see from the list below, Hope's other song choices, with a couple of exceptions, are not your typical fare and that was a good choice. Though this is not a tribute album, four of the ten cuts come from one of Hope's main inspirations, Erroll Garner. I particularly like Hope's choice of Forest Flower, a tune too rarely recorded.
Bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Kenny Washington provide fine support. Houston Person plays wonderfully on three cuts. On the one hand I wanted to hear him more, but Hope is such a joy in the lead voice, the guest role for Person made sense.
Tracks:Be Anything(I.Gordon); Summer Serenade(B.Carter); Moment's Delight(E.Garner); That's My Kick(E.Garner); Medley A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing (B.Strayhorn), Forest Flower(C.Lloyd); Hopeful Blues(S.Hope); Pastels(E.Garner); Nightwind(E.Garner);Indiana(J.Hanley/B.MacDonald); Medley Cottage for Sale(L.Conley/W.Robinson), Everything I Have Is Yours(H.Adamson/B.Lane), I'm Falling for You(C.Williams/G.Sanders/J.T.Hubert).
I love jazz because it swings.
I was first exposed to jazz in Houston.
I met Joe LoCascio and Bob Henschen.
The best show I ever attended was Pat Martino.
The first jazz record I bought was Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
My advice to new listeners is to relax on 2 and 4 beats.