Picks and Pans Review: Pearls

updated 04/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Judy Carmichael

Carmichael, 33, plays piano with an élan that raises the sly, jolly specter of Fats Waller. Her piano playing, like his, is loose, insinuating and melodious. Although not as good as Waller at that kind of thing, she comes close. On this LP she plays such standards as Squeeze Me, Ain't She Sweet and I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter, leading a quartet that includes cornetist Warren Vache Jr., guitarist Howard Alden and bass player Red Callender, a former Art Tatum sideman. Carmichael gives her side-men plenty of solo time and even seems almost deferential to Vaché. It's always a pleasure to hear his sweet-toned, beautifully curled improvisations, but once in a while Carmichael's reticence is unnecessarily gracious. When Carmichael pounds through James P. Johnson's Mule Walk Stomp, her take-charge approach seems more appropriate. Waller, who won a lot of good-natured duels with his splendid trumpet player, Herman Autrey, would approve. (Statiras Records, Tifton, Ga. 31794)

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