Title - 'Ready Take One'
Artist - Erroll Garner
If you know nothing of this incredible artist, let alone the body of work that he has been involved in, one way or another, well, the late, great Erroll Garner was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads. His best-known composition, the ballad "Misty", has become a jazz standard. He has been called "one of the most distinctive of all pianists" and a "brilliant virtuoso" and he (deservedly so) received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6363 Hollywood Blvd.
Ready Take One is the first completely new Garner studio album in nearly 25 years, even though he has not been with us since 1977. As never before, listeners are treated to a rare peek behind the studio doors, with revealing conversation between Garner, his quartet, and longtime manager/producer Martha Glaser included between many of the songs.
As pianist/producer Geri Allen writes, "a kind of fifth member of the band, Glaser would support Erroll Garner in the moment of the creative act", as evidenced by the title of the album, a direct reference to Glaser's steady refrain of, "Ready, take one".
Ready Take One features six never-before-released original Garner compositions, including the infectious "Wild Music" and beautiful ballad, "Back To You". Recorded during a prolific five-year period beginning in 1967, all 14 songs on Ready Take One are previously unreleased, having only recently been discovered after nearly 50 years.
In truth, from the off re: the frenetic key strokes of "High Wire", on through to the vibrant "Wild Music", and inclusive of my own personal favorite track, the moody, smokey, lush, piano and drum gem "Back To You", Ready Tale One is a truly superb performance by Erroll Garner, and sounds as fresh today as when each track was originally recorded all those years ago.
Garner is often forgotten these days, although he sold a lot of records in the '50's and 60's. He was a "happy" piano player, best at giving us cheerful renditions of both pop standards and original tunes. Every jazz fan ought to have at least one Garner CD in his collection, and this one is indeed, one of his best. So, if you are one of those unlucky few out there that actually don't have an album from Erroll in your collection, start with this one - you won't regret it, trust me.