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LONG UNAVAILABLE UNACCOMPANIED SET BY ONE OF THE MOST REMEMBERED PIANO JAZZ MASTERS
Known for his tasteful, flawless and swinging piano playing, Tommy Flanagan added class to every session that he was involved with and fortunately it was well documented during the latter part of his career. Maybe due to this abundance of material, Solo Piano was not initially released until decades after its 1974 recording. It is significant historically because this was the pianist’s first recording as a leader in 13 years.
Until the long delayed release of Solo Piano, it was believed that Tommy Flanagan’s “comeback” began with 1975’s The Tokyo Recital for the Pablo label and that his only full-length album of unaccompanied piano solos was 1977’s Alone Too Long which was released by Denon in Japan. Solo Piano forced a slight readjustment of the jazz history books and, most importantly, offers listeners some very enjoyable music from the great pianist. In the case of Tommy Flanagan, his ability to play swing was a major asset and in a solo setting he often added a modified stride, as can be heard on his version of “Sleeping Bee.” On swing-oriented numbers such as “Isn’t It Romantic,” “Sleeping Bee” and “Yesterdays,” Flanagan always kept the melody close by even while creating improvised variations. By the time Tommy Flanagan left Ella Fitzgerald’s backup band in 1978, his series of trio recordings had reminded the jazz world that he was a brilliant and very musical pianist. He worked steadily during the next 23 years, touring Europe and Japan while being based in New York and remaining one of the most consistently satisfying of all jazz pianists. Flanagan passed away on November 16, 2001 at the age of 71 but he has never been forgotten. Solo Piano adds to his impressive musical legacy.
Recorded February 25, 1974 in Zürich, Switzerland