Stan Hope combines bold confidence with a polished elegance reminiscent of Erroll Garner, his early influence. In a trio setting with bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Kenny Washington, Hope's renditions of four Garner charts-"Moment's Delight," "That's My Kick," "Pastels" and the memorable "Nightwind"-have the same spare yet melodic selectivity as that of his idol, while his own "Hopeful Blues" grooves strongly.
The album's two medleys are well chosen: a bouquet of Strayhorn's "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" coupled with Charles Lloyd's "Forest Flower," and three terrific songs saluting Billy Eckstine: "Cottage for Sale," "Everything I Have Is Yours" and "I'm Falling for You." Hope is bluesy on "Be Anything," swinging on "Indiana" and tender on Benny Carter's "Summer Serenade." Performance-based in Queens, Hope has toured with saxophonists Hank Crawford and Houston Person, the album's producer, who performs on three tracks. I hope we hear more from Stan.