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Now & Again by Dick Hyman & Randy Sandke

Dick Hyman is an enigma. Here is a pianist who plays the music of numerous classic jazz figures while forging his own identifiable style. Whether executing the works of Eubie Blake, Fats Waller or Jelly Roll Morton, the listener instantly knows it MUST be Dick Hyman. The pianist probably does not recall how many times he has recorded but discographers state that he has over 100 albums under his own name. Surely, there are many more where Hyman appears as a sideman.

Born in 1927, Dick Hyman won a dozen lessons by the legendary Teddy Wilson at the age of 21 while attending university. The rest is history. Hyman has played with the cream of the jazz elite from Diz, Bird, Prez to Red Norvo. In recent decades, he applied his ample energies to the works of the early masters of ragtime and jazz.

Joining Hyman is the renowned trumpeter Randy Sandke. Like the pianist, Sandke favors the music of the jazz legends, especially Armstrong and Beiderbecke. Born in 1949, Randy Sandke is an active figure on the New York scene. His recordings on Arbors Jazz, Concord and Nagel-Heyer pleased critic around the world. This reviewer treasures Sandke's recording with David Ostwald's Gully Low Jazz Band. The trumpeter performed in Benny Goodman's last orchestras and appeared at Carnegie Hall twenty-five times.

Now & Again offers a truly diverse set of numbers. From Joe "King" Oliver's "Weatherbird Rag" (1923) to Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring," the duo experiments and improvises to the listener's delight. Hyman's novel reading of Walter Donaldson's "Makin' Whoopee" is a prime example. "Wild Man Blues" highlights the trumpeter's prowess on a traditional New Orleans classic.

Both artists bring along their own compositions to the session. Dick Hyman penned "Thinking About Bix" for the motion picture "Zelig." However, only a portion of the composition was heard on the film. Randy Sanke contributes two pieces, one of which "The Wizard," is in honor of Dick Hyman. The other is a soulful item titled "Two As One." It's a standout that leaves the listener wanting more than the scant three minutes on the disc.

Hyman and Sandke produced a winner with Now & Again. Sound samples may be heard on the Arbors website.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Dick Hyman & Randy Sandke
  • CD Title: Now & Again
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Arbors Jazz
  • Rating: Five Stars
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