All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...


Jon Mayer: The Art of the Ballad

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Jon Mayer not John Mayer. This particular Mayer is a jazz pianist currently living on the West Coast who has been plying his Jazz trade in one form or another since the mid-1950s. Early on, Mayer played on two notable sessions: alto saxophonist Jackie McLean's Strange Blues (Prestige, 1957) and on the John Coltrane sessions recorded between 1958 and 1960 that eventually became Like Sonny (Roulette, 1990). Mayer did a stretch in Paris in the late '50s where he periodically supported Chet Baker during his expatriate period.

Mayer previously recorded seven CDs as a leader, including Nightscape (Reservoir, 2010), So Many Stars (Reservoir, 2007), The Classics (Reservoir, 2003) and Full Circle (Reservoir, 2002). Mayer has a light, breezy piano style more durable than Bill Evans without being as industrial as Horace Silver.

Mayer's present recording is an intimate affair, The Art of the Ballad (Self Produced). The pianist includeds a dozen well-considered classics, performed in a live setting (as it always appropriate) at Portland, Oregon's Classic Pianos. Mayer has never been a wordy pianist. He is measured in his use of the more technical elements of playing, paying special attention to the melody, but never at the expense of improvisation. He serves a completely enjoyable "'Round Midnight," playing it with all its curves and edges, but effectively taking the piece from its composer and making it his own.

Mayer turns "Willow Weep for Me" into a languid blues stroll that recalls the playing of the late Gene Harris and Oscar Peterson sans the fireworks. "My Romance" is proof of the perfection of the ballad in the Great American Songbook. Mayer approaches the Rodgers and Hart melody with stealth, sneaking up and capturing it before the listener detects it. "Young and Foolish," "When I Fall in Love" and "For All We know" are dispatched with a quiet confidence and internal beauty that have become Mayer's calling card.

Track Listing: Prelude to a Kiss; My Foolish Heart; Round Midnight; Willow Weep for Me; My Romance; Never Never Land; My One and Only Love; Don't Misunderstand; Young and Foolish; When I Fall in Lover; Come Rain or Come Shine; For All We Know.

Personnel: Jon Mayer: piano.

Title: The Art of the Ballad | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Udj


comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles


Reservoir Music



Reservoir Music

So Many Stars

So Many Stars

Reservoir Music

The Classics

The Classics

Reservoir Music


Related Articles

Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Music in Motian CD/LP/Track Review
Music in Motian
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Descansado - Songs For Films CD/LP/Track Review
Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read Simbiose CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 18, 2018
Read For Lew CD/LP/Track Review
For Lew
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 18, 2018
Read "The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline Oliveros" CD/LP/Track Review The Last Sense To Leave Us – A Tribute To Pauline...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 10, 2017
Read "Plays Dutch Originals" CD/LP/Track Review Plays Dutch Originals
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 14, 2018
Read "BACHanalia" CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "A Woman's Journey" CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Journey
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 28, 2018
Read "Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979-1981" CD/LP/Track Review Another Night: The Sire Recordings 1979-1981
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Möbius Strip" CD/LP/Track Review Möbius Strip
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 11, 2017