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The Piano Giants – Bob Haggart’s 80th Birthday Party by Dick Hyman / Ralph Sutton / Derek Smith

Every once in a while a CD takes your breath away. This one does it for me! The Piano Giants at Bob Haggart’s 80th birthday party marks the 11th volume of the Arbors Piano Series. The musicians on this session are truly giants. Each is an absolute master performer backed by as many as 50 years of experience.

Fans will require little introduction to these keyboard wizards. Ralph Sutton was an early "Condonite" and later appeared, JUSTIFIABLY, with the group called The World’s Greatest Jazz Band. Drummer, Bobby Rosengarden and bassist Bob Haggart were also attached to the esteemed outfit.

Derek Smith was part of the British jazz scene and moved to America in 1957. Within weeks, he was recording with the Modern Jazz Quartet. Later years found him in the company of Benny Goodman, Mel Tormé, Ella Fitzgerald and the Tonight Show band. His recent Arbors album, High Energy received nothing but praise in the jazz press.

Dick Hyman has done it all. Hyman has recorded over 100 albums under his own name and appeared on countless others. His film credits are numerous and his talents were employed in no less than ten Woody Allen productions. Check out the Arbors website for some of Dick’s other CDs.

The Piano Giants is a difficult session to document. The noted writer, Dan Morgenstern, does a great job of that in his 10 - page booklet. Morgenstern is director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. The session was taped at the first of Arbors’ "March of Jazz" parties in 1994 and the pianists appear in solo and duo performances. The tune list below indicates the musicians on each track.

It has been my pleasure to see every player on this session in live performance, with the exception of Derek Smith. Sadly Ralph Sutton, Milt Hinton and Bob Haggart have passed on in recent years. All proceeds from this recording are being donated to the Bob and Windy Haggart Scholarship Fund at the University of Miami, Florida.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Dick Hyman / Ralph Sutton / Derek Smith
  • CD Title: The Piano Giants – Bob Haggart’s 80th Birthday Party
  • Genre: Traditional / New Orleans
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Arbors Jazz
  • Tracks: Love For Sale (Smith / Haggart / Rosengarden); Sunday (Smith / Sutton); In a Mist (Hyman); Tea For Two (Sutton / Haggart / Rosengarden); I’m Through With Love (Hyman / Smith); It Could Happen To You (Smith / Haggart / Rosengarden); Honeysuckle Rose (Smith / Sutton); A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square (Smith); Alligator Crawl (Sutton / Haggart / Rosengarden); Somebody Stole My Gal (Hyman / Sutton); Fascinating Rhythm ( Hyman); Sleep ( Hyman / Smith); The Jitterbug Waltz ( Smith / Hinton / Rosengarden).
  • Musicians: Dick Hyman (piano); Derek Smith (piano); Ralph Sutton (piano); Bob Haggart (bass); Milt Hinton (bass); Bobby Rosengarden (drums).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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