Stride Piano Duets

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
When Willie "The Lion" Smith and Don Ewell got together for this four hands/two piano club date, people must have know that sparks were gonna fly -- and they do! The two recorded in a Toronto studio a few months prior to laying down these previously unreleased tracks at the Golden Nugget, a joint on Yonge Street that had been closed some time after this engagement. You'll have to listen closely to hear the difference between the more demonstrative Smith and the effortless Ewell, but make no mistake, they are perfect foils for each other. More often than not, it is Smith who is serving up the sliders and curveballs towards Ewell, and Ewell is returning them right back ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
When Willie "The Lion" Smith and Don Ewell got together for this four hands/two piano club date, people must have know that sparks were gonna fly -- and they do! The two recorded in a Toronto studio a few months prior to laying down these previously unreleased tracks at the Golden Nugget, a joint on Yonge Street that had been closed some time after this engagement. You'll have to listen closely to hear the difference between the more demonstrative Smith and the effortless Ewell, but make no mistake, they are perfect foils for each other. More often than not, it is Smith who is serving up the sliders and curveballs towards Ewell, and Ewell is returning them right back in a similar fashion. Smith is verbal in his exhortation, cues, and quips, while Ewell simply plays and plays. The freewheeling and easy stride of "Relaxin'" gets the two in a good mood, with Smith wordlessly singing the melody briefly, and exclaiming "yeah, I hear ya," urging Ewell's flourishes onward. The Lion cries out "hey, Ellington" before a respectful "Blue Skies," then the two fly furiously on the stunningly virtuosic "I Found a New Baby." The bouncy show time feel of "Linger Awhile" leads to "Shine" as the two go to town, and Smith sings about how his "hair is curly" and his "teeth are pearly." Steady stride à la Fats Waller takes place on "You're Driving Me Crazy" with a more distinct division of labor, while quick or start-stop gear shifts and accelerated non-stop pace drives "Just You, Just Me," and the two extrapolate a bit during "Squeeze Me." Much is made of the demonstrative left hands of these two masters, and it is most evident on the deliberate, old-timey "Charleston," the rambling "If I Could Be with You" sung by Smith at the end, and the playful solo for Smith on "Here Comes the Band," which is amazing on many levels. The two close with a real chestnut, Euday Bowman's bubbly "Twelfth Street Rag." This highly recommended recording is one to savor for decades upon end, and a lasting document in the careers of two of the greatest vintage jazz pianists the world has ever known.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/1/2008
  • Label: Delmark
  • UPC: 038153024925
  • Catalog Number: 249
  • Sales rank: 131,933

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Willie "The Lion" Smith Primary Artist, Piano, Vocals
Don Ewell Piano
Technical Credits
Irving Berlin Composer
James P. Johnson Composer
Fats Waller Composer
Vincent Youmans Composer
Ben Bernie Composer
Euday L. Bowman Composer
Irving Caesar Composer
Walter Donaldson Composer
Jesse Greer Composer
Raymond Klages Composer
Robert G. Koester Producer
Clarence Williams Composer
Maceo Pinkard Composer
Kenneth Casey Composer
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