Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

4

Mark Lewandowski: Waller

Roger Farbey By

Sign in to view read count
Thomas Wright 'Fats' Waller was born in New York on May 21, 1904 and died in Kansas from pneumonia on December 15, 1943 at the tragically young age of 39. During his relatively short life he became one of the most popular entertainers and composers in the USA and Europe. His stride piano style was greatly appealing and like his contemporary Louis Armstrong propagated jazz into the wider public domain. But it was this instrumental talent combined with his inimitable vocalisation of popular songs that secured his place in history. Some of his major hits, including "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Honeysuckle Rose," have taken their place amongst the classics of the great American songbook.

Any reinterpretation of Waller's music is to be welcomed and although Liam Noble and Paul Clarvis are no strangers to the free improvisation scene, as well as the contemporary jazz scene, the tracks presented here are in no way as extreme as the revisions of those found on Derek Bailey's Standards and Ballads. However, as instrumental readings they add a new dynamic and depth to old favourites, many of which will be unfamiliar to younger listeners. Originally from Nottingham, bassist Mark Lewandowski, a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and tutored by virtuoso bass players Steve Watts and Michael Janisch, is relatively new to the London jazz scene.

Underpinned by Clarvis's deft brush work throughout and Noble's vibrant piano, the numbers jump out at the listener, very occasionally embellished by small snatches of sampled original recordings. The opener "Lulu's Back In Town" is irresistible and the trio is instantly recognisable as a truly swinging unit. It can also be delicately graceful, as is heard on the melody to "Jitterbug Waltz" or on the ballad "Cinders" which offers Lewandowski an opportunity to turn in a rich and sonorous solo. "Fair And Square In Love" has a ponderous melancholic feel, executed at a deliberately hesitant pace, adding to its charm.

Clarvis gives a jocular coconut shell/tap dancing style percussive break in "It's a Sin to Write a Letter," a medley of "I'm Gonna To Sit Right Down And Write Me A Letter" and "It's A Sin To Tell A Lie." Another medley combines "(I'll Be Glad When You're Dead) You Rascal, You" with "Oh Suzannah." The final number, a bonus track of sorts, is Jelly Roll Morton's "Why?," renamed here as "Surprise Ending." Lewandowski gives a vocal (and whistling) performance here, and arguably this might have been a track too many. That minor aberration notwithstanding, this is a robustly attractive album and judging by this first foray, we'll be hearing a lot more from this talented bassist in the future.

Track Listing: Lulu’s Back in Town; I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead…Suzannah!!; Jitterbug Waltz; Blue Because of You; Fair & Square In Love; Cinders; It’s a Sin to Write a Letter; Have a Little Dream on Me; Ain’t Misbehavin’; Honeysuckle Rose; Surprise Ending (Why?).

Personnel: Mark Lewandowski: double bass, vocals (track11); Liam Noble: piano; Paul Clarvis: drums.

Title: Waller | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Whirlwind Recordings Ltd


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Alleviation CD/LP/Track Review Alleviation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Last Minute Panic CD/LP/Track Review Last Minute Panic
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Murphy CD/LP/Track Review Murphy
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Haberdashery CD/LP/Track Review Haberdashery
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Song of the Silver Geese CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Silver Geese
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 18, 2017
Read Live at Kolarac CD/LP/Track Review Live at Kolarac
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Sermon Organ Combo" CD/LP/Track Review Sermon Organ Combo
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 29, 2017
Read "Err Guitar" CD/LP/Track Review Err Guitar
by Don Phipps
Published: December 4, 2017
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Chasing the Unicorn" CD/LP/Track Review Chasing the Unicorn
by Paul Rauch
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Dream a Little Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Dream a Little Dream
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 16, 2017
Read "Genesis, Mystery And Magic" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis, Mystery And Magic
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 6, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!