Album Reviews

Erroll Garner

Ready Take One

Artist:     Erroll Garner

Album:     Ready Take One

Label:     Columbia/Legacy

Release Date:     09/30/2016


Though pianist Erroll Garner is hardly ever mentioned in the same breath as say, Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Dave Brubeck or Oscar Peterson, his creatively percussive left hand, free-flying right and vast melodic resources are every bit as distinctive and original as any of the titans. That his name adorns one of the greatest and best selling jazz recordings of the past century, Concert By The Sea, and composed the evergreen “Misty” should give indisputable credence to the man’s playfully supple and limber vision of jazz. Yet his work, since his death at 55 in 1977, has gone largely unheralded, if not criminally overlooked.

So please, trust me on this: Ready Take One seriously swings, swaggers, bops, boogies, woogies, and is, hands down, an irrepressible joy to listen to again and again and again.

Representing the first new music to be heard by Garner in over 25 years, Ready Take One is comprised of 14 previously unreleased studio performances (six are unreleased originals) recorded in ’67, ’69, and ’71. Of the originals, “Wild Music,” the shimmering “Back To You,” and effervescent “Chase Me” instantly slip into the Garner standards category. “Ready, Take One” long time manager and sessions producer Martha Glaser intones, and Garner, fired up with creative energy, leads his long standing band mates  – drummers Jimmie Smith, Joe Cocuzzo, bassists Earnest McCarty, Jr., Ike Isaacs, Larry Gales, George Duviver and percussionist Jose Mangual – through lively, lovely and inventive romps on Duke’s “Caravan” and “Satin Doll,” Cole Porter’s tireless “Night and Day,” “Stella by Starlight,” and absolutely revels with a newly minted passion for “Misty.” Kudos all around to Legacy, the Martha Glaser estate and the Erroll Garner Jazz Project for this and the proposed new music to come.

– Mike Jurkovic

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  1. Erroll Garner taught himself to play by watching his older siblings practice their piano lessons and by watching and imitating the keys move while he slowly pedaled their piano rolls of ragtime and classical piano.
    Many people consider Erroll Garner to be the greatest jazz pianist ever.