Thursday, May 24, 2018

Lou Levy - I m Old Fashioned (FRESH SOUND RECORDS 2018)

Issued in 1983 as The Kid s Got Ears , this album is one of the best and rarest that legendary Chicago pianist Lou Levy (1928-2001) recorded during his long and successful career. Guess I ve been lucky in music, he smiled. It seems like I was in the right place at the right time all my life, getting to play with Stan Getz, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey, Terry Gibbs... And then, of course, there were the great vocalists I ve worked with Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Nancy Wilson, Frank Sinatra...

Levy s attack is rapid-fire and many-noted, while his left rumbles at the chord progressions. His playing was known for its smooth sophistication and subtle swing. From the way I play, I suppose you could say that Bud Powell has been my biggest influence. Art Tatum s approach to harmony certainly influenced me too. It was so... so rich. But, of course, there are many other pianists I have great admiration for. Oscar Peterson, for instance. Naturally, other instrumentalists made a great impression. Certainly, Charlie Parker. And Dizzy, Miles, and Al Cohn. 

There s a reason I m Old Fashioned gives title to this album. Levy admitted to have a soft spot for this tune. I did that solo. I figured maybe I could handle that since it s my favorite tune. And it is a beautiful effort indeed. Be it solo, in a duet with bassist John Heard, or in a trio with drummer Shelly Manne, Levy shows his remarkable blend of lyricism and swing at each step. A model of taste, where the execution goes hand in hand with the creativity of this vastly underestimated pianist.

01. High On You (Al Cohn) 3:41
02. I Won't Dance (Kern-Hammerstein II-Harbach) 4:24
03. I'm Old Fashioned (Kern-Mercer) 4:33
04. Limehouse Blues (Philip Braham) 5:34
05. Take the ‘A’ Train (Billy Strayhorn) 5:15
06. Estate (Martino-Brighetti) 4:38
07. I'm All Smiles (Mickey Leonard) 5:16
08. You Say You Care (Styne-Robbins) 4:01
09. Wait 'Til You See Her (Rodgers-Hart) 2:45
10. Ding, Dong, the Witch Is Dead (Arlen-Harburg) 2:43

All tracks previously issued as “The Kid’s Got Ears!” (Jazzizz JIR 4002)

Lou Levy, piano

On #1,4,6,8: John Heard, bass; Shelly Manne, drums
On #2,5,7: John Heard, bass
On #3,9,10: Lou Levy, solo piano

Recorded at Sage & Sound Studios, Hollywood, November 27 & 28, 1982

Recording engineer: Jim Mooney
Original recordings produced by Jim Brown
Liner notes: Jordi Pujol / A. James Liska

Produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol

Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered