Johnny Varro is a piano-man in the tradition of Condonites
Joe Sullivan, Ralph Sutton, and Gene Schroeder. He’s a veteran of the bands of Eddie Condon, Ruby Braff and Bobby Hackett. The Two Of Us
marks Varro’s first solo album in some years but he’s appeared on no less than 25 other Arbors
CDs including several with his own septet.
The pianist wrote his own comments within Charles Champlin’s liner notes. It seems that Varro chose these 20 pieces simply because they are tunes he loves to play. That’s good enough for me! It’s an eclectic collection of standards from the twenties through the Beatles and Michel Legrand. It was great to discover some of my all-time favorites including Gone With The Wind, Here’s That Rainy Day, On Green Dolphin Street
and A Room With a View
. Listening intently, I awaited the familiar "A Room With a View" only to discover that Johnny Varro was not playing the familiar Noel Coward melody. He, in fact, recorded another "Room With a View" penned by E.A. Swan and lyricist Al Stillman. Swan is probably best known for his composition When Your Lover Has Gone
which had great success when waxed by Lee Wiley and Eddie Condon. Varro learned the Swan/Stillman tune while working with the late Bobby Hackett.
Other highlights on this disk are Blame It On My Youth, A Sleeping Bee
and Mel Torme’s Born To Be Blue
. There’s something here for all jazz fans and not only for the moldy figs like yours truly. Johnny Varro delivers in high style!