Last August, I was privileged to watch another of Mike Lipskin’s Stride Summits, this one at the gorgeously pastoral Filoli in California, part of their jazz series.
Here are four performances from that afternoon, featuring the remarkable Chris Dawson. (I will be sharing other performances by Mike and by Dick Hyman — now 87 — in future postings.)
Honoring Teddy Wilson, Chris offers a lightly orchestral style — always mobile, always swinging, but with an elegant classical restraint balanced against an essential gaiety. The music is dense but appears crystalline. The astute listener will also hear he is not bound by older harmonic conventions (as in the coda Chris creates for IT HAD TO BE YOU). I hear subtle hints of Waller, Hines, Tatum, Nat Cole — but the sound Chris gets from a piano is singular and recognizable. And the result is floating melodies in a wonderful pastoral setting.
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