Picks and Pans Review: Play It Again, Joe

updated 04/28/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/28/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Joe Bushkin

Okay, all you die-hard swing fans, here's one for you: Pianist Joe Bushkin, who is remembered for his tours of duty with Bunny Berigan, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, has put together a small group LP of lushly seductive ballads and bubbly, freewheeling standards. It's guaranteed to captivate all but those with hearts of stone. Bushkin's wistful interpretation of Gershwin's Our Love Is Here To Stay, accompanied by the langorous trombone playing of Al Grey, is reason enough to haul out the candles and champagne. His joyful sense of melody is apparent on his up-tempo tunes such as Hallelujah and The Man That Got Away. And he builds the medley of There's Always the Blues, Phone Call to the Past and Learnin' the Blues into a hard-swinging session driven by bassist Major Holley and drummer Butch Miles. Clarinetist Phil Bodner, trumpeter Warren Vache and Grey step out for some zesty solos. On this LP, masterfully produced by guitar titan Les Paul, Bushkin sings several of his own compositions, including Oh Look at Me Now, one of Frank Sinatra's first hits with the Dorsey band. Although his voice isn't quite up to Sinatra's, Bushkin's vocal approach is smooth and foxy. Saxophonist Bud Freeman once told the 69-year-old self-taught pianist that he felt sorry for him because "You've got so much music in you that, try as you might, you're never going to get it all out." Amen. (Atlantic)

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