Pianist Larry Willis has been on over 300 sideman sessions and led eighteen of his own albums since 1970, fifteen of them since 1989. Willis has been in involved in many sub-genres of jazz, largely in the earlier years including jazz-rock fusion and the avant-garde. He was the pianist for Blood Sweat & Tears in the early '70s, Sonny Fortune in the late '70s, and David "Fathead" Newman, Carla Bley and Nat Adderley in the '80s. His albums have appeared on Groove Merchant, Audioquest, Brunswick and Mapleshade.
In choosing a trio for The Big Push, Willis selected drummer Al Foster, his old student partner from the High School of Music & Art in Manhattan, and the in-demand bassist Buster Williams. The tunes are a combination of a few sturdy standards, two originals and jazz standards. Beginning with an untempo version of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic "The Surrey with The Fringe on Top," Willis and company find out what makes its wheels turn; his tribute to former employer Nat Adderley is a poignant "Poppa Nat." Buster Williams steps in frequently to provide fine support for Willis, notably on the ballads and mid-tempo tracks; Al Foster supplies just the right touch for the cookers as well as the tastefulness needed on the ballads.
Track Listing: The Surry With The Fringe On Top; Today's Night;
The Day You Said Goodbye; Just Wait And See; Annika's
Lullaby; I Have A Dream; Everything I Have Is Yours; The Big
Push; Poppa Nat.
Personnel: Larry Willis: piano; Buster Williams: bass; Al Foster: drums.
I was first exposed to jazz by my father, who was a rabid fan when he was younger, in the early to mid 1950's. We lived in NYC and he was a regular at places like the Village Vanguard and Birdland. One of his favorite stories involved meeting Charlie Parker and Miles on 52nd St
I was first exposed to jazz by my father, who was a rabid fan when he was younger, in the early to mid 1950's. We lived in NYC and he was a regular at places like the Village Vanguard and Birdland. One of his favorite stories involved meeting Charlie Parker and Miles on 52nd St. Needless to say, Jazz and Blues were always on the stereo in our home. I was steeped in these exciting sounds, and they make up some of my earliest memories.