Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Bill Mays & Red Mitchell

A while back I posted some video clips from a PBS special that I saw and recorded back in the 1980’s.  At least, I think they are clips from that video.  Anyway, I watched and recorded a duet with Bill Mays on piano and Red Mitchell on bass.  I seem to recall that it was the first time I was able to record audio from television onto my cassette deck.  I listened to that recording over and over.  It was one of those formative moments in my life as a jazz listener.  The simple duet, with Mitchell’s gorgeous thump and Mays’ bright keys, presented the basic jazz idea to me in a way that I couldn’t miss it. 
Around that same time I noticed an album by Mays and Mitchell in a record store, but just couldn’t afford it.  I have looked for it ever since and today I found it on eMusic.  It’s Two of a Mind, and it brings the hair up on the back of my neck.  It is very well recorded.  Mitchel could make a bass talk the talk while he walks the walk.  I love bass sound and Mitchel can make one note extend like layered biscuit while another vibrates like a tightrope under the feet of someone desperately trying to reach the post. 
Mays combines a pensive mood reminiscent of Bill Evans with a staccato brightness that is all his own.  He surrounds the drama of the bass with the lights, tables, and cocktails.  Then they get to dialogue.  The exchange is exquisite and compelling. 
This is a superb duet.  You can get it for less than three flippin’ dollars from eMusic.  I also bought a Mays Trio recording, Summer Sketches.  I’ll probably be playing something from that soon.  Meanwhile, from Two of a Mind I am playing ‘Well You Needn’t,’ and ‘All Blues’. 

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