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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Ready Take One' [2LP Vinyl]
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 14 unreleased studio performances, including six never-before-released original Garner compositions. Inclusive of the infectious "Wild Music" and beautiful ballad, "Back To You", it was recorded during a prolific five-year period beginning in 1967.

Having only recently been discovered after nearly 50 years, this brand new release, here in my hands as a delightful, especially to an audiophile like myself, 2 LP 12" High Resolution 150-gram Vinyl (released this past November 25th, 2016) is so incredible to hear on "old school" vinyl. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of his work, whether it be on CD, tape, or vinyl, but these new High Resolution 150-gram vinyls are just AMAZING to listen to, trust me.

In point of fact, special attention was given to the timing and sequencing of each of the four sides to maximize the listening experience on a 12" vinyl format; giving listeners the chance to hear Garner on the format that made him an international star. The analog grooves of a vinyl record are tailor made to showcase Garner's percussive left hand and dynamic melodies. In addition, the Ready Take One vinyl offers a beautiful presentation of the photos included in the CD package as well as photography exclusive to the LP edition.

Side A:
1. 'High Wire'
2. 'I Want To Be Happy'
3. 'I'm Confessin' (That I Love You)'
4. 'Sunny'

Side B:
1. 'Wild Music'
2. 'Caravan'
3. 'Back To You'

Side C:
1. 'Night And Day'
2. 'Chase Me'
3. 'Satin Doll'
4. 'Latin Digs'

Side D:
1. 'Stella By Starlight'
2. 'Down Wylie Avenue'
3. 'Misty'

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.

Also, and together with these Garner compositions, we get his swinging interpretations of a variety of jazz and pop standards, including “I Want To Be Happy,” Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” and a passionately rendered version of Garner’s own “Misty,” one of the most-often-covered jazz compositions of all-time; and the most-requested number in Garner’s repertoire, recorded for this album on May 28th, 1969 in Paris, France.

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.