[78-L] OT(?): Big Band leaders as pianists

Kristjan Saag saag at telia.com.invalid
Mon Dec 7 13:51:46 PST 2015

Was listening to the Duke Ellington 1961 album "Piano In The Foreground" 
(with Aaron Bell/ Jimmy Woode, Sam Woodyard) and noticed the unusually 
uneven mix between piano and bass/drums. The piano was really in the 
foreground, the percussion was hardly heard.
Thought:; well, Duke was a nice pianist, but this was a situation where 
he was part of a trio and didn't excel in nifty soloing - why give him 
prominence in this way?
Next thought: how high in regard as pianist was he? And what about other 
Big Band leader pianists: Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Stan Kenton, Earl 
Well, I know Hines was probably more valued as pianist than band leader, 
and Kenton, certainly the opposite - I'm a big fan of Kenton's big band 
sound but find him mediocre as pianist.
Other names I should have mentioned? Carla Bley, Mike Westbrook?
Eager to hear your opinions about these guys.

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