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Willie Pickens: It’s About Time!

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Legendary Chicago pianist Willie Pickens hasn’t recorded much, so this reissue of 1980s material is a welcome addition. Pickens piano playing is dense and intense, and he builds his performances with textural variations that logically progress and maintain interest.

The album consists of a 1987 studio date, the original LP, in a trio with Dan Shapera on bass and Robert Shy, drums, performing extended versions of jazz and popular standards with verve. The CD is augmented by live solo performance tracks from the 1981 “Chicago Piano Greats” concert series, including dynamic, Tatumesque Ellington, Satie, and Chopin; and a lively “Straight No Chaser” from the 1986 Chicago Jazz Festival.