Smithsonian Collection of Jazz Piano volume 1, 2, 3 and 4 go way back to Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson and Fats Waller all the way up to Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock. It’s beautiful just to experience how jazz piano had grown in both styles and sounds.
When the two jazz pianists, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, met for the First Time, the heat was on. From the opening “Battle Royal” to the ending “Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” the two big bands combined put the studio on fire. The record is hypnotizing.
Get up close and personal with Thelonious Himself to appreciate Monk’s style. His infamous twenty-two-minute rendition of “‘Round Midnight” is marvelous. Dig the way he pounded the keyboard: both dramatic and emotional. “Functional” is another delightful piece, in which his phrasing is gorgeous.
Maiden Voyage featured four cool-jazz pieces. Along side with Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, tenor saxophonist George Coleman and drummer Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock’s piano takes listeners on a soothing cruise on water.