Monday, April 24, 2006

Piano man

I read about Frank Hewitt, a pianist known in New York (and a small part of the city at that) but never much beyond, in a Jazz Times piece last year, prompting me to order "We Loved You" from Smalls Records, which is producing a series of posthumous Hewitt CDs.

Hewitt, who died in 2002 essentially homeless, never released a recording when he was alive and that's too bad. On "We Loved You," he's something like a cross between Monk and Hank Jones, with the lyrical beauty and classical flourishes of the latter and the propensity for risk taking and familiarity with stride of the former.

Hewitt, in a bass and drums trio, does mostly standards on the disk but I'm never bored listening to it because of the way he reconstructs the songs in his own highly individualistic style. A melancholy "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and a swinging "I'll Remember You" are among the highlights. The whole program's good, however.


Luke Kaven said...

We miss Frank a lot, and are glad to know that you like him as we do. Thanks for writing this piece. Good ears you've got.

Greg Kline said...

Thank you for the music Luke. You guys are putting out some good stuff that I'm gradually picking up.