I'm off to Boston again today on a 6 am flight but wanted to share with you a passage I read last night from an essay appraisal of Teddy Wilson. The liquid prose is from the late jazz critic Whitney Balliett:
"Teddy Wilson's style has changed little since 1935. At first, it was a mixture of what he admired in Earl Hines and Art Tatum. But he quickly worked out his own style, and what we have come to be so delighted by is its calm, riffling runs, some of them the shortest distance between two points and some with a tricky sidewise motion; the short declarative single-note phrases, the first measure often repeated once or twice to give a pleasant stuttering effect; the dashing double-time single-note bursts; the peppery, sometimes quite dissonant right-hand chords; the way he tosses the melody back and forth between his hands like a juggler; the left hand constantly moving from tenth chords to single-note accents and patches of stride; the love of the middle and upper registers....Wilson's solos form landscapes of sound--ordered, serene, polite, beautiful."
--Goodbyes and Other Messages
Wax tracks: Whether you're new to Teddy Wilson or know his recordings well, you should own The Noble Art of Teddy Wilson. It's out of print, so buy the CD used from a seller if you can--or download the entire album from iTunes. I'd recommend individuals cuts, but that would be absurd. The entire album is pure bliss from the first track to the 24th.
But the granddaddy of all clips is this rare one of Wilson and Earl "Fatha" Hines playing together in 1965. Watch it a few times and you'll see how competitive and brilliant these stride pianists. were. Like two hungry guys sitting down to dinner with one pork chop.