1 January 2020

Pete Recommends: Dave Frishberg – Lookin’ Good

Dave Frishberg

Lookin’ Good

Although I often doubt whether anyone reads this column, I know that my friend Adrian does. He sometimes even buys my recommendation. Recently in a New York store he found an original vinyl issue of my Maxine Sullivan recommendation. So I have chosen this month to dedicate my choice to him. I hope he will buy it – and enjoy it. This double CD package brings together two sessions from 1977 and 1989. Soon after the first session appeared, a friend who already admired Dave’s songs sent me the sheet music for his song Dear Bix.  When I asked who the composer was I learned that Dave was an accomplished jazz pianist with a CV that included most of the leading musicians of the time. One of his most important gigs was with the partnership of Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. He had also provided the words for several of Al Cohn’s songs, including The Underdog, which was a minor hit in Dave’s own vocal version. Other successful songs of his own included Peel Me A Grape, I’m Hip and Let’s Eat Home.

My recommendation introduces you to the full range of Dave’s talent. There is some fine piano here, including solo versions of Jelly Roll Morton’s King Porter Stomp and Duke Ellington’s The Mooche. His singing is heard at its best on songs like Hoagy Carmichael’s Old Man Harlem and, of course, The Underdog. There are two fine medley’s chosen from the music of Al Cohn and Billy Strayhorn, while the small groups introduce the work of such fine musicians as Marshal Royal on alto sax, The great Snooky Young on trumpet and the beautiful valve trombone solos of Rob McConnell. I think you will enjoy it Adrian.

[Dave Frishberg is 87 years of age. Lookin’ Good is on Concord Jazz CCD2-4998-2]

Peter Batten

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