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

Taylor Bowie bowiebks at isomedia.com.invalid
Mon Dec 7 16:38:52 PST 2015

Hey Bud,

I'm not a big Duchin fan but there were other sweet band  pianist 
band-leaders who were very capable soloists and strong leaders as well...not 
in the jazz genre,   but we were speaking of band leaders in general,  or so 
I thought.

Such leaders would include  Henry King,  Joe Reichman,  Griff Williams, 
Anson Weeks,  etc.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Bud" <banjobud at cfl.rr.com.invalid>
To: "78-L Mail List" <78-l at klickitat.78online.com>
Sent: Monday, December 07, 2015 4:26 PM
Subject: Re: [78-L] OT(?): Big Band leaders as pianists

> So sue me.  I liked Eddy Duchin.
> Bud
> Sent from my iPad
>> On Dec 7, 2015, at 7:11 PM, Julian Vein 
>> <julianvein at blueyonder.co.uk.invalid> wrote:
>>> On 07/12/15 21:51, Kristjan Saag wrote:
>>> 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
>>> Hines?
>>> 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.
>>> Kristjan
>> ===============
>> I don't care for Duke too much as a soloist, apart from the odd chorus
>> with the band. Didn't care for "Money Jungle" which, apart from being
>> inadequately recorded, was just repetitive, thumpy and dull. And, of
>> course, there were those, innumerable, feared "Ellington medleys"...
>> There was Claude Hopkins, who I like as a pianist, and his band too,
>> which isn't held in much regard these days, and whose approach
>> anticipated Basie's to some extent. I think it's a question of
>> overstaying their welcome--if they just stick to intros and an
>> occasional chorus that's fine, including Eddy Duchin!
>> Basie's playing was a beacon of light on the band's Decca recordings,
>> many of which were pretty mediocre despite the adulation they have 
>> received.
>> Then, of course, there was Sun Ra.
>> I suppose pianists can hide their limitations to some extent, unlike
>> horn players.
>>      Julian Vein
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