In the late Fifties, musicians returning to New York from Seattle, Washington, brought back stories about a young pianist with a sound all her own - a swinging performer who impressed every traveling band to hit town; undoubtedly someone to watch out for. One of the most vocal and enthusiastic heralds of this new talent was the celebrated arranger Quincy Jones, also from Seattle. It was he who, given the opportunity of assembling his own band for the Harold Arlen Show, Free and Easy, finally brought her to New York late in 1959 to work as pianist with his band during their European tour.
But it was a discerning record industry man, George Painkin, who brought an acetate test record of her playing to Columbia. The impact was powerful, convincing and immediate. She was signed there and then and “Plays Big Piano,” is the magnificent resulting album. It confirmed what musicians said about her. She had what jazz players call “time.” The beat is always there, not vaguely implied; it’s explicitly heard and felt on every track of this album, including the ballads, and especially in the four Bown original blues and gospel-based compositions. Quincy Jones’s judgement is thoroughly vindicated on every track.
PATTI BOWN (piano)
JOE BENJAMIN (bass)
ED SHAUGHNESSY (drums).
Recorded in New York City, September 27 & October 8 & 27, 1959.
Originally issued on Columbia CS 8208
01. Nothin’ But the Truth (Bown) 3:14
02. It Might as Well Be Spring
(Rodgers-Hammerstein II) 4:18
03. Waltz de Funk (Bown) 3:51
04. I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right
Outa My Hair (Rodgers-Hammerstein II) 3:18
05. Head Shakin’ (Bown) 5:53
06. G’won Train (Bown) 3:50
07. Sunshine Cake (Van Heusen-Burke) 3:36
08. Give Me the Simple Life (Ruby-Bloom) 2:03
09. I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (Rodgers-Hart) 3:43
10. Always True to You in My Fashion (Porter) 3:35
Total time: 37:00 min. approx.