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...

3

Tommy Cecil and Bill Mays: Side by Side: Sondheim Duos

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
This is a brilliant collection of nine songs associated with composer Stephen Sondheim and delivered by the estimable pianist Bill Mays and excellent bassist Tommy Cecil. Cecil, who initiated and produced the project, is well-known in Washington, D.C., but his huge talent should bring him much wider attention. As for Mays, there's always the sense of a quick intelligence and ready humor behind those formidable chops; no pianist currently plying the trade makes more thoughtful and satisfying choices.

The party begins with a rousing version of "Something's Coming" that hints of what's to come: great technique, playfulness and witty quotes, full-out swing, intimate, pitch-perfect sound, and the kind of empathic interplay that it usually takes years to develop. Moreover, their mutual time is so good that a drummer is never missed. Each player has his say with full space and support from the other, while interest is sustained by the imaginative arrangements, wide variation in mood and feel, and clever reimagining of Sondheim's harmonies, which were never particularly jazzy to begin with.

Other highlights include the "Ballad of Sweeney Todd," where Cecil leads over Mays's suggestive harmonies and the tune soon gets deranged (much like Sweeney himself); the gorgeous lyricism of "Not While I'm Around" and "Small World"; and the full-out fun of "Broadway Baby." The solos are consistently intriguing and melodic, and the session ends with a delightful take on "Comedy Tonight" and a final surprising but relevant quote.

In a world where record labels implode every day, and the survivors increasingly cling to some pandering pop hybrid or other, it's reassuring that a project of this quality can still appear. True jazz fans will find much to savor here, from beginning to end.

Track Listing: Something's Coming; Not While I'm Around; Broadway Baby; Every Day a Little Death; Ballad of Sweeney Todd; Small World; Side by Side by Side; Anyone Can Whistle; Comedy Tonight.

Personnel: Tommy Cecil: bass; Bill Mays: piano.

Title: Side by Side: Sondheim Duos | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: No Label

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.

Date Detail Price
Dec28Fri
8:00 pm
Sharón Clark
Beacon Bar & Grill - Beacon Hotel
Washington, DC

Related Articles

Read Pillars CD/LP/Track Review
Pillars
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk CD/LP/Track Review
Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Pardes CD/LP/Track Review
Pardes
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Strings 1 CD/LP/Track Review
Strings 1
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Music for a Free World CD/LP/Track Review
Music for a Free World
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2018
Read Rats Live on No Evil Star CD/LP/Track Review
Rats Live on No Evil Star
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 9, 2018
Read "Electroradiance" CD/LP/Track Review Electroradiance
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 1, 2018
Read "Triad" CD/LP/Track Review Triad
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 15, 2018
Read "Weave" CD/LP/Track Review Weave
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 2, 2018
Read "The Literature" CD/LP/Track Review The Literature
by Jim Trageser
Published: August 17, 2018
Read "Ornettiquette" CD/LP/Track Review Ornettiquette
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 2, 2018
Read "Dodecahedron" CD/LP/Track Review Dodecahedron
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 21, 2018