JazzTimes - 9/97, p.92
"...mainstream jazz of the highest order, with the pianist a one-man rhythm section and DeFranco at his warmest and most creative. Apart from his swinging blues title tune and 'Anthropology,' all the numbers are standards, with the clarinetist playing at his peak..."
Personnel: Dave McKenna (piano); Buddy DeFranco (clarinet).
Recorded at Sound On Sound, New York, New York on October 15 & 16, 1996. Includes liner notes by Dr. Herb Wong.
"You Must Believe In Swing" was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo.
Liner Note Author: Herb Wong.
Recording information: Sound on Sound Studios, New York, NY (10/15/1996/10/16/1996).
Photographer: Dave Fischer.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Dave McKenna; Buddy DeFranco.
On this wonderful set, pianist Dave McKenna and clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, mutual admirers who had rarely played together before, perform ten exciting duets. Because McKenna is an expert at keeping basslines going, takes hot single-note solos with his right hand, and is a very self-sufficient pianist, there was no need for other musicians. DeFranco, a brilliant clarinetist for over half a century at this point, sounds inspired by the setting. Although one might consider the clarinetist to be boppish while McKenna is swing-oriented, the pianist has played bop before, and DeFranco is a veteran of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Count Basie's early-'50s combos, so there was plenty of overlapping between their styles. On tunes such as "The Song Is You," the exquisite "Autumn Nocturne," "Poor Butterfly," and "Anthropology," the McKenna-DeFranco matchup is particularly magical. Recommended to fans of either of the musicians. ~ Scott Yanow