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Frank Hewitt : Fresh From the Cooler

Frank Hewitt

When Smalls, the label named for the funky and legendary Greenwich Village club, began releasing Frank Hewitt recordings in 2004, it was beautiful and sad. The beauty was the discovery of a major voice on jazz piano, a link that had been missing in jazz history, revealing new (but, once heard, necessary) relationships between Bud Powell and Monk and Elmo Hope.

The sadness was that these recordings, the first ones under Hewitt’s name, were released posthumously. Hewitt died in 2002 at 66, almost completely unknown outside the underground culture of the Smalls scene. The title of this album is a brutal reality check. In his last years, Hewitt often slept in a stripped-out walk-in refrigerator in the back of Smalls.

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