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Roger Kellaway: Remembering Bobby Darin [Digipak]

Track List

>Up a Lazy River
>I've Found a New Baby
>Splish Splash
>Oh! Look at Me Now
>Once Upon a Time
>I'm Beginning to See the Light
>Beyond the Sea
>Mack the Knife

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

"On Remembering Bobby Darin, the pianist is joined by guitarist Bruce Forman and bassist Dan Lutz in what is intended as a "companion piece to the solo album. Once again, there is only one original song, the beautiful bluesy "Remember, which is almost a solo song, the other two players appearing only during a few moments. One of the tunes that immediately stands out is the respectful take on the Jobim/Mendonca tune "Meditation. A lot of contemporary musicians have given rather "personal" treatments to songs of the bossa nova era, so it is very welcome to hear this song with all the Brazilian nuances, even if Bruce Forman retains a more Americanized touch to his guitar playing. It is impressive how well Kellaway's piano here sounds as if he were channeling Jobim's style, hitting the keys more softly than in the other songs.

A fun moment is the only Darin composition in the CD, the teen-rock era "Splish Splash, which receives a playful treatment during the chorus that quickly brings to mind Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy, retaining a more improvisational jazz mode during the middle sections.

The trio revisits "Beyond The Sea with a straight approach, piano and bass trading leads on the original notes of the song. Kellaway then takes over showing his chops as Forman and Lutz provide a simple but effective background.

"Mack The Knife begins in a funny way: you hear the scratches of a vinyl record and then Forman provides rhythm guitar as Kellaway plays on a toy piano. That ends quickly as the trio goes into a serious mode, with twisting guitar and piano notes and then a more traditional feel. The song ends as it began, with the return of the toy piano and the vinyl scratches.

These two albums have a great feel, which will please jazz piano fans and also those who like to listen to familiar tunes with an open mind." -AllAboutJazz

Album Reviews:

JazzTimes (p.94) - "At their best, the trio swings persuasively in the manner of the effervescent Nat Cole trio."

Album Notes

Tributee: Bobby Darin.

Roger Kellaway: Roger Kellaway; Dan Lutz (double bass); Bruce Forman.

Personnel: Roger Kellaway (piano); Bruce Forman (guitar).

Liner Note Author: Gene Lees.

Recording information: Kellaway LightWorks Studio, Ojai, CA (11/06/2004-11/09/2004).

Photographers: Roger Kellaway; Jorjana Kellaway.

If anyone bridged the gap between traditional jazz-influenced pop and early rock & roll, it was Bobby Darin. Some of his work appealed to the Frank Sinatra/Tony Bennett/Sammy Davis, Jr./Dean Martin crowd, while some of it appealed to the Elvis Presley/Chuck Berry/Jerry Lee Lewis crowd -- and that is in addition to the singer's folk-rock output. Stylistically, Darin was not easy artist to pin down, which means that anyone providing a Darin tribute has a wide variety of things to choose from. Roger Kellaway, much to his credit, acknowledges different sides of Darin's artistry on Remembering Bobby Darin. Recorded in 2004, Remembering Bobby Darin is a companion to the veteran pianist's other Darin tribute, I Was There: Roger Kellaway Plays from the Bobby Darin Songbook. But while I Was There is an album of unaccompanied solo piano performances, Remembering Bobby Darin finds Kellaway forming a cohesive, intimate trio with guitarist Bruce Forman and bassist Dan Lutz. If you're seriously into Nat King Cole, that drumless combination of instrumentals should sound familiar; Cole favored a piano/guitar/bass format when he led the legendary Nat King Cole Trio in the '30s and '40s. And that format serves Kellaway pleasingly well on this far-reaching CD, which ranges from the Darin smash "Beyond the Sea" to older standards like Duke Ellington's "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and "I've Found a New Baby." Kellaway celebrates Darin's swing side with an intriguing version of "Mack the Knife" (also known as "Moritat" or "Three Penny Opera") but savors Darin's rock & roll side on "Splish Splash," which the lyrical pianist performs in a Gene Harris-like fashion. I Was There and Remembering Bobby Darin are both excellent and well worth owning, but this release has a slight edge in the diversity department and reminds you just how impressively versatile Darin was. ~ Alex Henderson


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