Personnel: Mel Powell (piano); Benny Carter (saxophone); Howard Alden (guitar); Milt Hinton (bass); Louie Bellson (drums).
Recorded during the 1987 Floating Jazz Festival aboard the S/S Norway, between St. Thomas and Puerto Rico.
The first jazz recording by pianist Mel Powell since 1955 (in the interim he gained a strong reputation as a modern classical composer), this CD also signalled the rebirth of Hank O'Neal's Chiaroscuro label in 1989. Recorded at the Floating Jazz Festival aboard the S.S. Norway, the set features Powell with altoist Benny Carter, guitarist Howard Alden, bassist Milt Hinton and drummer Louie Bellson performing six standard swing-era songs. Amazingly Powell, who had rarely played jazz or much piano during the previous three decades, sounds in near-prime form and the music is quite delightful. This CD concludes with a 20-minute "Jazzspeak" in which Powell discusses his life and his earlier decision to leave jazz. ~ Scott Yanow