JazzTimes - p.63
"The audio tracks highlight piano innovators from every era, via their compositions and/or imitations of their individual playing style....As jazz education, CENTURY may be the most indispensable package since the SMITHSONIAN COLLECTION OF CLASSIC JAZZ."
Adapter: Dick Hyman.
Audio Mixer: Gary Baldassari.
Liner Note Author: Dick Hyman.
Recording information: Dick Hyman Music Inc., Venice, FL (1996-2007); Piano Distributers Of Satasota (1996-2007); Yamaha Showrooms, New York, NY (1996-2007).
Editor: Ron Dabbs.
Arranger: Bob Zurke.
Dick Hyman's Century of Jazz Piano was originally issued as two separate CD-R discs to allow jazz piano students and fans to hear many different styles of jazz as performed by the veteran pianist. Repackaged as a five-CD set with a separate DVD for reissue by Arbors, this improved edition has the ability to play in conventional CD and DVD players as well. Hyman has long been recognized as a very versatile player who is capable of playing any style in jazz history, one of a handful of artists who has such an ability. The five CDs, more or less, cover jazz piano roughly in the chronological order in which they came into the public domain, playing pieces either composed or associated with a number of different pianists. It is hard to imagine anyone else who can play in the manner of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Thelonious Monk, Lennie Tristano, Bill Evans, and McCoy Tyner (to name only a few), but Hyman does so with ease. Rather than just play straight re-creations of each player's recordings, Hyman generally incorporates his own variations and improvisations. The fifth disc may be the most interesting, as it consists of a series of Hyman's compositions and free improvisations in the manner of various pianists, along with a revisit to his 1968 piece "The Minotaur," a piece he originally composed to perform on Moog synthesizer; this version is a piano duet with Jack Fanning. On the DVD, Hyman offers more, playing examples of individual greats of each style while adding insightful commentary as to the unique aspects of each musician's approach, with the camera angles providing superb views of his hands in action. This set is complemented by a detailed booklet with Hyman's extensive liner notes, while the creative packaging allows both easy access and minimizes possible damage to the discs as they are removed from their sleeves. ~ Ken Dryden