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Larry Eanet: Piano Solos, Vols. 1 & 2

Eanet is a well-known figure in D. C. circles, a very complete pianist whose obscurity is attributable to having chosen medicine as a career, though his part-time gigging has included an impressive array of mainstream connections. Now retired from doctoring, he is starting to do some recording, and all I can say is better late than never. Eanet is an elegant, lyrical player who evokes Teddy Wilson, Nat Cole, and Art Tatum without actually sounding like anyone but himself. He manages to combine melodic improvising with Tatum-like rapid-fire ornamentation. Every phrase is turned thoughtfully with a minimum of fuss. Piano work this good by an unknown would be easy to recommend if he were playing only the most obvious tunes. When the program consists primarily of forgotten treasures like “He Loves and She Loves” (Gershwin), “Goodbye, Little Dream, Goodbye” (Porter), or “A Ship Without a Sail” (Rodgers & Hart) the only question is which volume to start with. My slight preference for Volume 1 reflects less familiarity with the material, but both are excellent. I only wish we had several more to pick from.

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