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Catability by Bob Degen

For a fellow I never heard of (and I've been haunting record stores since '69), Scranton, PA-born pianist Degen has a hell of a resume: in the 60's, he lived in Germany, playing with expatriates Art Farmer & Leo Wright, returned to the USA where he had a trio with Paul Motian & Gary Peacock (unrecorded) and played in Buddy DeFranco's Glenn Miller Band, then returned to Germany & joined Albert Mangelsdorf's group. In '97, he braved Brooklyn to make this fine trio date.

The easiest way to sum up Degen's style is a cross between early-to-mid-'70s Bill Evans with late 60's / early '70s McCoy Tyner: full-bodied, two-handed sound and consistently lyrical without ever being predictable. He's at his most Evans-esque on "Ode to Sammy Davis Jr." and recalls Herbie Nichols on "Round Trip". Formanek rules, playing Scott Lafaro to Degen's Evans (though neither are mere knock-offs). Recommended for lovers of the Classic Piano Trio.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Bob Degen
  • CD Title: Catability
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 1998
  • Record Label: Enja Records
  • Musicians: Bob Degen (piano); Michael Formanek (bass); Bill Stewart (drums)
  • Rating: Five Stars
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