It's a dilemma that has been common to jazz for decades now. It involves those players who might accurately be called "the middle children." You know how it works, players who can't get the same attention from the major labels like the young lions are able to nor are old enough to be referred to as elder statesmen. The transcendent and always appealing pianist Harold Danko falls into this trap. He should clearly be better known than what he is, yet he fulfills a valuable role as educator at the Eastman School in Rochester and also has in Nils Winter the support of a very congenial producer.
Following up on his 1994 solo piano tribute to John Coltrane, After the Rain, Danko puts forward another solo set dedicated to the spirit of the late trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker. The pianist, of course, is uniquely suited for this endeavor considering that he spent time in the '70s and '80s working with Baker. Some familiar standards and a few rare lines from Jimmy Heath and Phil Urso make up this recital that clocks in at over an hour. Detailed commentary seems superfluous, as Danko plays with the kind of finesse and heartfelt emotion that has always marked his work. Bravo!
Track Listing: Whatever Possessed Me, I Thought About You, I Fall In Love Too Easily, Gnid, Deep In a Dream, The Touch of Your Lips, D's Dilemma, These Foolish Things, When She Smiles, Way To Go, Gone With The Wind, This Is Always
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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