THE SAVOY MASTER TAKES contains tracks recorded for Savoy between 1945 and 1949.
Personnel includes: Erroll Garner (piano); Mike Bryan (guitar); John Levy, John Simmons, Slam Stewart (bass); George De Hart, Alvin Stoller, Harold "Doc" West (drums).
Compilation Producers: Orrin Keepnews, Steve Backer.
Includes liner notes by Dick Katz.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
This two-disc set collects Erroll Garner's Savoy label recordings, all of which were made quite early in his career. A pianist of stunning technique and appeal, Garner had a distinctive style involving bold left-hand chordings and lush, behind-the-beat, right-hand melodies. His playing is full of orchestral color, yet always swings. These sessions show Garner's style fully developed even on his earliest studio dates. The earliest, in fact, finds the pianist playing with Slam Stewart's Quartet, aided by Stewart's bass, drummer Harold West, and guitarist Mike Bryan (it is rare to hear Garner interacting with a guitarist).
The rest of the set spotlights Garner in his oft-used trio format, peeling off highly polished treatments of show tunes and popular songs. Urbane, harmonically advanced readings of old standbys from the American songbook was one of Garner's specialties, and THE COMPLETE SAVOY MASTER TAKES features Johnny Mercer's "Laura," Hoagy Carmichael's "Stardust," and Fields-McHugh's "I'm in the Mood for Love," among others. "Misty," Garner's signature composition, is not included here, but Garner's original artistry and exuberant delivery elsewhere makes up for the absence. Restored sound and an informative booklet make this sampler of Garner's early work a treasure.