Out of the Clear Black Skyby Frank Hewitt
Frank Hewitt was evidently a well-kept secret among jazz fans in Manhattan, as he played hundreds of gigs at the night club Smalls, though without attracting much attention from critics or record labels. Prior to his death from cancer in 2002, he was recorded live on a number of occasions, and this is the fifth posthumous collection of his work issued by the Smalls record label. Hewitt's approach to the piano is pretty much bop, with intricate right-handed runs and a love for extended interpretations of songs, without being purely derivative of influences like Bud Powell, Elmo Hope, and Barry Harris. This disc opens and closes with "Misty," the first version slower and more introspective, the latter a bit more upbeat. He digs into two gems by Rodgers & Hart, including a brisk arrangement of "Lover" and a lush take of the infrequently performed "I Married an Angel." His percolating performance of "Manteca" is restrained compared to most recordings, though no less invigorating. Joining him are bassist Ari Hoenig and the late drummer Jimmy Lovelace, both of whom provide outstanding accompaniment. It is sad that pianist Frank Hewitt didn't live to see any of his recordings issued on the Smalls label by producer Luke Kaven, but it seems very likely that numerous additional evenings at Smalls were recorded and will possibly be issued in the future.
- Release Date:
- Smalls Records
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