EPIC - LN-3829
EPIC - BN 622
I'M JUST TAKING MY TIME (4:29)
RIDE THROUGH THE NIGHT (4:33)
NOW I HAVE SOMEONE (5:39)
WHEN YOU HELP A FRIEND OUT (4:36)
GETTING MARRIED (6:36)
HOW CAN YOU DESCRIBE A FACE? (4:12)
WHO KNOWS WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN (3.25)
I SAID IT AND I'M GLAD (3:19)
COMES ONCE IN A LIFETIME (3.40)
Milt Hinton (bass), Don Lamond (drums)
Arranged by Dave Grusin
Produced by Robert Mersey
Those who have never had a chance to hear this album - which, unfortunately, may include many Dave Grusin fans - have missed a very special opportunity to hear him playing in a piano trio setting.
“Subways Are For Sleeping” rings with both snappy up tempo numbers and the warmest of ballads. It is His official debut album as a headliner artist, cut in November 1961. However, it had a predecessor. Also recorded with Milt Hinton and Don Lamond before the show album, its murky history can be read in the At The Keyboard section, under the title "The Intriguing Story Behind Dave Grusin's First Album."
One's first reaction, before ever hearing it, is to ponder why “Subways Are For Sleeping”? The Broadway show, starring Carol Lawrence and Sidney Chaplin, struggled to keep an audience for 205 performances, and was most notable for the stunts producer David Merrick initiated to publicize the musical.
So why make a jazz adaptation of a vehicle which basically had only one moderate hit, “Comes Once In A Lifetime”? The mystery remains the secret of Dave Grusin and producer Robert Mersey.
But how one wishes the show were less obscure, and therefore Dave Grusin's improvisations of these nine tunes from “Subways” were accessible to all on CD.
Opening track, “I'm Just Taking My Time” sets out the tone for the upbeat numbers on this album - smooth and tasteful, but inevitably infused with Grusin inventiveness. Without lyrics or title, the spirit of the song is completely conveyed in the light, but still brisk treatment.
Courtesy of cohort Don Lamond's percussion, “Ride Through The Night,” the secondary hit of the show, suggests the lively gait of a subway train rambling along on its nocturnal journey, while Dave Grusin's agile touch personifies the fun and zaniness of the characters in the musical.
Suddenly the mood changes with “Now I have Someone,” and Dave Grusin's reading brings us from the Broadway theater to a little late-night spot around the corner where romance takes place not under bright stage lighting but the shadows of a jazz club.
A driving, up tempo style permeates “When You Help A Friend Out.” Energetic and unrelenting, the group spins the basic melody around the town and through all its rhythmic paces.
“Getting Married” is the show stopper on the record. Breezy and swinging, this is totally infectious. After opening in waltz time, The drums then move into 4/4 with piano and bass playing ¾ against them.
The gentle ballad “How Can You Describe A Face” is given a tender treatment, showing off the sensitive side of Dave Grusin, familiar to devotees of his later film music. Pure proof here, this was a quality he had already developed in his twenties.
More of the relaxed sound is featured on the mellow, swinging “Who Knows What Might Have Been?” augmented by charming contrapuntal playing by the bass.
The last ballad “I Said It and I'm Glad,” lush and sensuous, offers the best example on the album of a recognizable Grusin style, in addition to its warmth and feeling.
“Subways'” vivacious hit “Comes Once in a Lifetime” sadly concludes the album, but by no means sadly. Bright and animated, the impeccable jazz version of this hit may be easier to appreciate, the melody being more familiar.
Doing what the best jazz does, putting a personal stamp on a melody, this album scores for the at times exhilarating, at times romantic interpretations of the original. The fact that Dave Grusin himself has stated that he doesn't think it is a particularly good record should not deter one. For, if you never heard the tunes from this musical, the record stands on its own as eminently listenable jazz. Clarity, integrity, brightness. Everything you could wish All it leaves you wanting is MORE.
Go to: "Piano Strings & Moonlight"
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