'Ready Take One,' 14 Newly Discovered Erroll Garner Studio Performances Released by Legacy/Octave [REVIEW]

By Mike Greenblatt on Oct 29, 2016 03:54 PM EDT

Erroll Garner The legendary Erroll Garner, dead for 39 years, has a new CD out of never-before-heard material. (Photo : Charles Stewart)

Hot on the heels of Erroll Garner's #1 jazz-chart topper, The Complete Concert by the Sea, the legendary pianist/composer, who died in 1977 at the age of 53, has a brand new CD out, Ready Take One (Legacy/Octave), filled with all unreleased tracks, six of which are previously unheard originals. Word has it, there's plenty more to come.

Recorded in '67, '69 and '71 with two drummers and four bassists (depending upon the track), Garner delightfully interprets the Bobby Hebb hit "Sonny," two slices of Ellingtonia ("Caravan" and "Satin Doll"), two from Cole Porter ("Night and Day" and "Stella By Starlight"), his own "Misty" (updated with a new recording from Paris) and the aforementioned six "new" originals. All 14 have been restored after almost a half-century collecting dust in the Erroll Garner Archive, housed within the University of Pittsburgh (his home town).

Most fascinating are the snippets of studio banter between the pianist (known for audibly grunting as he plays) and his longtime manager/friend Martha Glaser. In fact, the title of this collection stems from Glaser's traditional exhortation just prior to the tape rolling ("Ready? Take One!") Garner is clearly in high spirits, trilling, rolling, releasing his inner Debussy as well as his inner Fats Waller.

During his all-too-short life (he had a heart attack during complications from emphysema), Erroll Garner was not only Johnny Carson's favorite jazz artist-amassing 27 Tonight Show appearances-but was as popular abroad as he was at home. The first jazz piano player to give a solo Carnegie Hall performance (1959), Garner was never an actual pioneer like Monk. (He was too much a populist for ground breaking.) Still, there are those who say his immediately recognizable originality puts him in a league with Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. This is why the Erroll Garner Jazz Project, headed by the estate of Martha Glaser, is set to release more unheard gems like this.

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TagsErroll Garner, REVIEW, Legacy Recordings, Octave Music Licensing

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