Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Junior Mance Jubilation

Delmark’s acquisition of the Canadian Sackville label continues to make available some wonderful recordings covering the whole spectrum of jazz. Among the latest releases to get back into circulation is a live solo piano recording from the wonderful Junior Mance, “Jubilation” (Sackville). Mance, who established himself with Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly and the two tenor team of Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis and Johnny Griffin, had been working leading his own trios and also in duos in New York from the 1960s on when he was recorded at Toronto’s The Montreal Bistro in September, 1994.

Jubilation” was originally released in 1996 and likely will be new to most ears. In a program ranging from Hoagy Carmichael, Ellington and Strayhorn, W.C. Handy, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, Dizzy Gillespie and Cole Porter, Mance throughout showcases his considerable and ability in mixing gospel and blues roots with florid Tatum-esque runs. The title track is a particularly exhilarating performance, but his touch and tenderness is shown on a rendition of “Georgia On My Mind.”

Mance gets playful on “Lady Be Good,” while his take on “All the Things You Are” is a high point on this exceptional release. Mance also puts his own stamp on a marvelous take of the venerable “St. Louis Blues,” as well as on “Birks Works,” while he invests a morose tone to “Lover Man.” “What Is Thing Called Love” starts in a reflective manner before Mance turns his interpretation into a stride-rooted romp. This track exhibits the wide ranging musical imagination mixed with his formidable technique making “Jubilation” such a delightful recording.

I received my review copy from Delmark. Here is Junior Mance doing "Jubilation" in 1959.

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