My Dr. Bob Prescribes post of December 25,
As I pointed out on December 25, two things distinguished the jazz pianists on my list. The first is that they are all two-handed pianists who use the entire keyboard when they play. The second distinguishing factor is that these pianists are, in my opinion, at their very best when playing solo.
Now don’t get me wrong: playing with a good bassist and drummer is great fun, but – pianistically – it is, in a word, cheating. The bass obviates any need for a pianist to play on the bottom third of the piano keyboard and thus reduces the pianist’s left hand to a simply chord-comping machine. The drummer provides a rhythmic underpinning that cannot be manipulated or toyed with for effect.
Having pontificated here long enough about who-and-what-I-like and don’t-like (as if it makes any difference), I’d make one more assertion before getting to the meat-and-potatoes (finally!) of this post: among my very favorite jazz albums are duets between the piano and some other instrument (other than a bass or drum). That’s because such albums feature all the conversational and collaborative elements that make jazz so awesome, but also require that the piano player be a complete, two-handed pianist.
Among such albums are Spirits, with its duets between Lee Konitz (alto sax) and Sal Mosca (piano); the two miraculous albums made by Tony Bennett and Bill Evans; You Must Believe in Swing made by Buddy DeFranco (clarinet) and Dave McKenna; Inside & Out by Ruby Braff (trumpet) and Roger Kellaway; and the album I’m sharing today on Patreon…
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