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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