Picks and Pans Review: Erroll Garner Plays Gershwin & Kern

updated 02/17/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/17/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Erroll Garner

None of the great jazz pianists was so much fun to hear—or so fascinating—as Erroll Garner, who died at 53 in 1977. This album, including tracks previously released overseas but not in the U.S., is joyful evidence of that rich talent. He was such a rhythmic musician in general, and his throbbing left hand was such a rhythm section unto itself, that it was almost unnecessary for him to be backed by bass and drums as he is on these tunes. But the accompaniment is at worst superfluous. What counts are the improvisational trips Garner went on, taking off from such tunes as Love Walked In, Dearly Beloved, A Foggy Day (in London Town) and, in an inspired, slightly up-tempo version, Old Man River. Garner was one of those gifted, self-taught jazzmen who never learned to read music, but in case anyone has been wondering whether his music would hold up, here's the answer in the decided affirmative. (EmArcy)

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