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John Bunch Salutes Jimmy Van Heusen by John Bunch

Imagination: a gift to improvisors. "Here's That Rainy Day": one of the loveliest ballads ever written. "Darn That Dream": another delight. "Come Fly With Me." Check out that list of tunes. It could be a Sinatra retrospective - he recorded every one. What a remarkable selection of love songs. A single composer, Jimmy Van Heusen, wrote them all, many with lyricist Johnny Burke.

In Alec Wilder's book, American Popular Song: The Great Innovators / 1900-1950, he includes Van Heusen among the "great craftsmen." Well, another great craftsman is the interpreter of Van Heusen's melodies, veteran pianist John Bunch. This is his second Arbors release with his English associates, bassist Dave Green and drummer Steve Brown.

There are many approaches to playing jazz piano. Some pianists are flamboyant, some orchestral, and some, like Bunch, play with elegance. Bunch, with his clear and crisp touch, falls into the latter category. Like Martin Gaylord in the liner notes, I hear some of Jimmy Rowles in the subtle chords on the ballads. Bunch was Tony Bennett's accompanist for six years and, as you might expect, his performance reflects a sensitivity to lyrics.

If you remember Nat Cole before he became a full-time singer, you'll know that an elegant touch doesn't get in the way of cookin'! Bunch proves the point on the up tempo selections which include the rarely swung "But Beautiful."

John Bunch: 85 years young and still going strong ... very strong. From the jaunty opener, "All This and Heaven Too," to the "Last Dance" this CD is a gem.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: John Bunch
  • CD Title: John Bunch Salutes Jimmy Van Heusen
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Arbors
  • Tracks: All This and Heaven Too, Nancy With the Laughing Face, I Thought About You, Darn That Dream, But Beautiful, Imagination, It Could Happen to You, The Second Time Around, Like Someone In Love, Polka Dots and Moonbeams, Come Fly With Me, Here´s That Rainy Day, Call Me Irresponsible, Moonlight Becomes You, Last Dance.
  • Musicians: John Bunch (piano), Dave Green (bass), Steve Brown (drums).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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