I knew Frank Strazzeri could play tasty piano, but I didn't know he could play really tasty Fender Rhodes electric piano. Yesterday, I was listening to Taurus, an album Strazzeri recorded in January 1973 with Conte Candoli (tp), Frank Rosolino (tb), Don Menza (ts,fl), Gene Cherico (b) and Dick Berk (d). Despite all of these great artists on one album, Strazzeri's work on the electric piano—his voicing, solos and fills—stood out.
Interestingly, Strazzeri's swinging piano style—which was straightforward and simple—lent itself perfectly to the electric piano. All of the compositions on the album are Strazzeri originals, and I suspect he also arranged the ensemble charts. The album was released by Revelation Records, a small label in Glendale, Calif. For those who find fusion albums from this period overly electronic and overbearing in tone and mysticism, Taurus is a relief. Here, there's just a touch of the plugged-in sound with the Fender Rhodes, with the balance straight-up hard-bop jazz handled by West Coast jazz giants (click below to enlarge the album's liner notes).
JazzWax tracks: You'll find Taurus on Strazzatonic (Fresh Sound ), a two-CD set featuring three albums by Frank Strazzeri from the 1970s—Taurus, Frames and View From Within. Go here.
JazzWax clip: Here's Strazzatonic from Taurus. Dig Strazzeri's engaging use of the Fender Rhodes behind Candoli, Menza and Rosolino as well as on his solo...
JazzWax note: You'll find my last post on Frank Strazzeri here.
A special thanks to David Langner.