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  1. #1

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    Anyone who's read me here knows how I feel about Chris Anderson, but here are some other less-known and worthy pianists to check out (I'll start with Buddy Montgomery, who I also love and feel is way underrated, but he's still better known than the following pianists, living and not):

    Donald Brown (also a fine composer)
    Onaji (sp?) Alan Gumbs (fine composer too)
    Tony Zano (sort of a cross between Tristano & Evans, with his own thing too)
    Tim Brey (young badass I met in Philly)
    David Varielles (sp?) My preferred pianist working with Tom Harrell
    M'Fergu (Old NY bud, and quite unique)
    Rodney Kendrick (ditto)
    Kenney Gates (swingin' old-school Philly cat)
    Tom Lawton (One of Philly's best---the late Bootsie Barnes called him 'a genius')
    V. Shayne Fredrick (known more as a vocalist, and a great one, but can play some freaky piano
    Andy Bey (ditto)
    Johnny O' Neal (also a tremendous singing talent)


    And lest we forget:

    Horace Parlan
    Kenny Drew
    Walter Bishop, Jr
    Phineas Newborn (BTW had a brother, Calvin, a hell of a blues-drenched guitarist)


    To be continued...
    Last edited by joelf; 10-10-2021 at 04:48 PM.

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  3. #2

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    Stanley Cowell had a lot of recordings, but not a lot of coverage or namechecks, in my experience. His recording changed with the times...the 1970s stuff can be groovy in good and bad ways, while some of the stuff from the 80s and 90s was a bit more buttoned up.

    Carl Perkins from L.A. is, like Sonny Clark, a hip pianist from the golden age that died way too young from drug addiction. He only made 1 trio album, but is on a good number of sessions with Curtis Counce, Art Pepper, Harold Land, and others.

    And Sonny Clark, wow--his 5 quintet albums on Blue Note are every bit as interesting as the stuff Horace Silver was doing at the same time, if not more. Great composer, played catchy solos, great accompanist on many sessions for other players (Dexter Gordon, Grant Green, Hank Mobley, Jackie McLean, Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, Stanley Turrentine)...Clark has to be one of the most underrated guys of the hard bop era.

    A recent thread on Twitter praising the rhythm section of Peter Washington and Kenny Washington got me listening more closely to Richard Wyands, who had a very long career but not a lot of recognition. Wyands' 3 trio albums from 95-99 with Peter and Kenny are beautiful, subtle mainstream jazz. Nothing ground-breaking, but the craftsmanship is very high and the trio works beautifully together. Wyands is also on a good Zoot Sims quartet album from the early 80s.

    Walter Bishop Jr. recorded "What's New" with Peter and Kenny in 1990, and it's superb as well.

    Bill Charlap's work with Peter and Kenny is probably too celebrated to mention here-- I guess Alan Broadbent might also be too well known to mention, but he's faded from view a bit over the last 10-15 years.

    Elmo Hope and Hasaan Ibn Ali are more on the mythic / mad genius end of the spectrum, especially Hasaan, who's "lost" 2nd album was just released in the last year or two. Hope is a bit better known, but still pretty obscure. And Herbie Nichols belongs in this bucket, though he was not a tortured soul, just an obscure player/composer doing his own thing kind of like Monk.

    Masabumi Kikuchi had an interesting career from the 1970s to the 2010s that was intertwined with Paul Motian's for many years. He can be a bit too woo-woo and indulgent for me, but he can also play beautifully concise stuff at times. I feel the same way about Joanne Brackeen, working at this same time...amazing technique and range, and when she's focused and working with good material, she's hard to beat, but some of her earlier work is not that focused.

    Two mainstream players I get a lot of joy from are Frank Collett and Jessica Williams. I especially like Collett's sense of swing--just solid swinging stuff that seems to flow like an effortless song from his fingers. Jessica Williams is a little more daring and reaches higher heights than Collett, but also at her best in that same mainstream piano trio arena. She's recorded much more than Collett actually.

    The entire 40+ CDs in the Maybeck Recital series on Concord Records from 1989-1992 is worth investigating for overlooked players. I discovered Hal Galper, Jim McNeely, Bill Mays, Walter Norris, and John Hicks that way. It took me years to get around to some of them, but if they are all on Spotify or some streaming service, it's a no brainer to sample those records.

  4. #3
    [QUOTE=44lombard;1151097]Stanley Cowell had a lot of recordings, but not a lot of coverage or namechecks, in my experience. His recording changed with the times...the 1970s stuff can be groovy in good and bad ways, while some of the stuff from the 80s and 90s was a bit more buttoned up.


    A recent thread on Twitter praising the rhythm section of Peter Washington and Kenny Washington got me listening more closely to Richard Wyands, who had a very long career but not a lot of recognition. Wyands' 3 trio albums from 95-99 with Peter and Kenny are beautiful, subtle mainstream jazz. Nothing ground-breaking, but the craftsmanship is very high and the trio works beautifully together. Wyands is also on a good Zoot Sims quartet album from the early 80s.




    Stanley was a 'jazz professor' at Kingboro Community College---we had a special program for working musicians. He was cool, but seemed to miss more days than he made. Interesting player though---I heard him w/the Heath Brothers ca '78.

    I was fortunate to know and work with Richard. He was first a gentleman---no ego (remember being a sideman was his bread and butter). He's known as a top accompanist and was, but he also could swing you into next year on his solos. I was on George Kelly's Jazz Sultans at the West End in Dec. '84. The band had NO slouches (except me!): people like Benny Powell and Virgil Jones---and George wrote some nice charts and was a capable soloist on tenor.

    The point being: every time Richard got a solo EVERY head and ear on the stand was turned towards him. (He's also on the recording on Stash that the gig was based on: George Kelly plays Don Redman).

    A class act all the way...

  5. #4

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    Mingus


  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55
    Mingus

    I remember seeing and hearing this when it was just out, or a few years out.

    As some wag said: 'There's a Mingus among us'...

  7. #6
    The portrait of Mingus there reminds me of how much I miss cover art---the kind you didn't have to squint to see, on LPs...

  8. #7
    Richard Wyands was also on the Oliver Nelson-Eric Dolphy collaborative recordings (Screamin' the Blues was one) and did a hell of a job. One of Oliver's compositions was a walking ballad, Images. Eric takes it out and Richard takes it 'in'---making for really interesting listening...


  9. #8

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    Denny Zeitlin is a stellar pianist, musician, and human. I love listening to him!



  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    I remember seeing and hearing this when it was just out, or a few years out.

    As some wag said: 'There's a Mingus among us'...
    There's a Mingus Amonk us!

  11. #10

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    Honestly - Nina Simone

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    Honestly - Nina Simone
    She IS interesting---though for me it's the contrast between her various facets that makes her so. They rub against each other in curious ways. Like her piano playing, where you can hear the classical training and her solos sound worked out (and pretty much the same each performance) is in real contrast to her grittier, low alto singing.

    Whatever she did it worked---a unique artist...

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by nevershouldhavesoldit
    Denny Zeitlin is a stellar pianist, musician, and human. I love listening to him!


    I guess Zeitlin wasn't available for the cover shoot of the middle recording here---so they got Woody Allen?...

  14. #13

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    Tania Maria would she be considered overlooked?
    I thought Billie Holiday played a lot of her piano parts and they are bees knees but not bop.


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  15. #14

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    When I saw this thread, my first thought was Denny Zeitlin, but someone obviously beat me to it. He gets a vote in this category from Ted Gioia. When I was 14 and living in San Francisco, I called Mr. Zeitlin to see if he would give me some lessons. He didn't have time. Could have changed my life. Got stuck playing the guitar.

    I had been taking classical piano lessons for about six years, off and on, when I called Zeitlin. My teacher at the time got me a book of Mal Waldron transcriptions. So I'll put in a vote for Mal Waldron. I spent a couple of years living in Brussels, and one sunny day Mal Waldron and I were walking in opposite directions down the Chaussee d'Ixelles, and I recognized him immediately, though I had seen him play live either no times or once, but it was sunny in Brussels and I was in a good mood, so from about 15 feet away I sort of yelled out "Mal Waldron!" But now I remember. I had just seen Waldron accompanying Abbey Lincoln in Brussels, that's how I recognized him immediately. He was a little guy.

    Another guy I'll vote for is Art Lande, who played in a group in the Bay Area that had Mark Isham on trumpet in the 70's, that was actually pathbreaking music at the time, and I still listen to "Red Lanta."

    Andy Bey was mentioned above. I have recently been listening to his album "It Ain't Necessarily So" on continuous loop. I don't really like his block chord soloing so much, but I love the way he accompanies himself and the voicings he uses. And his single-line soloing is pretty good, he takes it outside sometimes, one would not really expect that. Overall, he's fantastic, the singing and the arrangements are out-of-this-world good, IMO. He could be one of the most underrated jazz musicians in my lifetime.

    On the other side of the coin, I might vote for Nina Simone in the overrated category. I like Nina Simone sometimes, but her piano playing isn't really that hip, she never really got out of the classical bag, I don't think it works much of the time, it doesn't work for me. Sometimes Hiromi plays in that vein, she plays stuff that sounds like Ferrante & Teischer or Liberace, it's awful, but at the same time, Hiromi can play the blues like nobody's business, she's just unbelievably good.

    I really like Kurt Elling's former musical director, Lawrence Hobgood, he was apparently underrated by Elling.

    And I like Tania Maria a lot, was recently listeniing to one of her records from the 70's, someone mentioned her.

  16. #15
    I had a longtime friend, Burt Eckoff, who passed away earlier this year. He was a de-facto jazz piano/jazz historian; excellent teacher; adept in many styles from many eras. He had depth of knowledge; authenticity AND deep soul. Burt was a devoted jazzman (and liver of Buddhist principles) who got into teaching rather than compromise musically. He ended up being as revered for his teaching as he was by musicians for his playing.

    He lived to be a wise old man, though cranky and curmudgeonly at times. His resume included work with Kenny Dorham; Art Blakey; Sonny Stitt; Archie Shepp---and countless others. He was an E. Village denizen, tight with Clarence 'C.' Sharpe (who he gigged with numerous times); Chris Anderson; Jaki Byard (who he'd sub for)---etc., etc.

    I urge you to check out his playing on the various links provided below:

    https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...ry=burt+eckoff

  17. #16

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    Aaron Parks and Dave Kikoski.

    [And I believe "Dr." (not "Mr.") Zeitlin is a psychiatrist!]

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by 44lombard
    Elmo Hope and Hasaan Ibn Ali are more on the mythic / mad genius end of the spectrum, especially Hasaan, who's "lost" 2nd album was just released in the last year or two. Hope is a bit better known, but still pretty obscure. And Herbie Nichols belongs in this bucket, though he was not a tortured soul, just an obscure player/composer doing his own thing kind of like Monk.
    Looking forward to the release of these Hasaan Ali solo piano recordings next month:

    Hasaan Ibn Ali — Retrospect In Retirement Of Delay: The Solo Recordings – Omnivore Recordings

  19. #18

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    [And I believe "Dr." (not "Mr.") Zeitlin is a psychiatrist!][/QUOTE]

    Yes, I know he is a psychiatrist. So what? My family knew people who knew him socially, that's how I got his phone number. I can't tell if this is a joke you're making. If it is, it's not very funny. But it probably was not meant to be a joke, given the exclamation point you employed. I live in France. In France, medical doctors are usually called "Monsieur," not "Docteur," I rather doubt that Denny Zeitlin is the sort of person to insist upon being called "Doctor." But anyway, congratulations on knowing that Denny Zeitlin is a psychiatrist. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but this was a very stupid remark to make to someone you don't know. I suppose that this is what I deserve for posting among strangers on the internet.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by PMB
    Looking forward to the release of these Hasaan Ali solo piano recordings next month:

    Hasaan Ibn Ali — Retrospect In Retirement Of Delay: The Solo Recordings – Omnivore Recordings



  21. #20

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    I did not know that Zeitlin is a psychiatrist.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Litterick
    I did not know that Zeitlin is a psychiatrist.
    As is Eddie Henderson...

  23. #22
    Jodie Christian is another one---from Chicago. Dunno if he's still around. Worked a lot with Von Freeman, so you KNOW he's good.

    I'll try to dig some tracks up...

  24. #23
    Very crisp sound and touch. Nice pacing; building; swing. And the chops to bring it out...



  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    I loved that!


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  26. #25
    Of the trio of buddies, Monk; Powell; and Hope Elmo Hope seems the least remembered. That shouldn't be. He was as good as any, and a very interesting composer.

    Here's a few tastes: