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...

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

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Waller

Waller

Whirlwind Recordings Ltd
2017

buy

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Unnatural  Events" CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Fresh Air Project" CD/LP/Track Review Fresh Air Project
by Jerry D'Souza
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Happy Juice" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Juice
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 31, 2017
Read "In Times Like These" CD/LP/Track Review In Times Like These
by James Nadal
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Open Air" CD/LP/Track Review Open Air
by John Kelman
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "Transitions" CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017