The jazz world has forgotten him, passed him by, like so many others. In 1944 he was playing with Parker, and Gillespie recording with Gillespie in 44 and 46, with Parker in 48 to 50, and with Stan Getz from 49 to 51. He was one of the Bebop pioneers. I just came across his name while doing research and have discovered some really good music. I picked up several of his albums and he’s become one of my favorites.
Al Haig…A brief article bt Scott Yarnow: One of the finest pianists of the bop era (and one who learned from Bud Powell’s innovations quite early), Al Haig was quite busy during two periods of his career but unfortunately was pretty obscure in the years between. After serving in the Coast Guard (playing in bands during 1942-1944) and freelancing around Boston, Haig worked steadily with Dizzy Gillespie (1945-1946), Charlie Parker (1948-1950), and Stan Getz (1949-1951); and was on many recordings, mostly as a sideman (including some classic Diz and Bird sessions) but also as a leader for Spotlite, Dawn, and Prestige. However (other than little-known dates in 1954 for Esoteric, Swing, and Period), Haig did not lead any more albums until 1974. He played fairly often during the 1951-1973 period, but was generally overlooked. That changed during his last decade, when he was finally recognized as a bop giant and recorded for Spotlite, Choice, SeaBreeze, Interplay, and several Japanese and European labels. — Scott Yanow
A very lyrical set, enjoyable and speaks of a deep talent, someone who was in love with the music.
All things Piano Jazz, An interesting listing of whats on the web concerning Jazz Piano.
Stride: PianoStride, Harlem Stride Piano, or Stride Piano, is a jazz piano style that evolved partially from ragtime.
The idea of using the alternating left hand pattern typical of ragtime as a foundation over which new melodies could be improvised is the basis of the style known as stride piano. The stride pianist for the most part makes more liberal use of blues harmonies in his music than the ragtime composer. Famous stride pianists include: James P. Johnson ,Fats Waller , and Willie “The Lion” Smith.
The origin of the term boogie-woogie is not known, according to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the word is a redoubling of boogie, which had been used for rent parties as early as 1913. Blues historian Robert Palmer wrote that the boogie-woogie style bass pattern was probably created in the logging and turpentine camps and oil boomtowns of Texas, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Delta in the early 1900’s.
This style of piano jazz became popular in the 1920’s, a repeating left hand pattern is used, but rather than the alternating bass notes and chords of stride, it uses a pattern that establishes the chord as well as bass function within one line. Boogie-woogie was often based on blues forms. Important boogie-woogie pianists include: Meade “Lux” Lewis, Pinetop Smith, Jimmy Yancey, Albert Ammons, and Pete Johnson.
In all of these styles, pianists generally played lines that included full chords in their right hand. It was the pianist Earl Hines who pioneered the technique that is now standard for jazz pianists – playing single-note melodic figures in the right hand, like a horn player would:
Two other pianists worthy of special mention are Mary Lou Williams and Art Tatum. Williams began her career playing traditional jazz, but in a way that is considered particularly modern. She became a major influence on the young pianists of the bebop generation, and she continued to develop her style throughout her very long career.
Art Tatum was primarily a stride pianist, but he was a musician of such fantastic technique and harmonic invention that he has influenced countless pianists and other musicians of every generation.
Krzysztof Komeda 27 April 1931 – 23 April 1969, Polish film music composer and jazz pianist. Worked with Roman Polanski on several films including Rosemary’s Baby. The Komeda sextet was Polands first modern jazz group. Check out his best of album The Genius of Jazz. The Komeda Project is a New York City based jazz quintet performing the music of Krzysztof Komeda. This is some very interesting music indeed.
Larry Vuckovich a Westcoast based Jazz pianist who grew up in Yugoslavia studying classical piano. There he developed an interest in jazz listining to “Armed Forces Radio” and experiencing with it himself. At 14 he moved to San Francisco during 1951 and the exciting Westcoast jazz scene. He met Vince Guaraldi at the club “The Blackhawk Night Club“who took him in as a student. He met alot of the jazz greats visiting the clubs and the Jazz Workshop, Miles, Dizzy, Milt Jackson, Gil Evans, etc. He started playing professionally and worked with Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross and toured the U.S, Canada, and Europe playing with many greats. In the late 60’s he was leader of the house band at Germanys leading jazz club playing with many jazz greats including Philly Jo Jones who he went on to tour Europe with and later in the decade he met again after returning to San Francisco where Larry was leader of the house band at the jazz club The Keystone Korner playing there until it’s close in 1983. Larry moved to New York playing at all the great clubs. 1990 he returned to the Bay area. He has several great albums out including Street Scene and High Wall both dedicated to the Film Noir. He has another notable album City Sounds,Village Voices which is very good. Larry Vuckovich is a more obscure name in the Jazz world but a great artist just waiting for your discovery.
Don Friedman a New York based jazz man, a classically trained pianist who was good friends and roommate with bassist Scott LaFaro in the 50’s. You will find him playing Swing Jazz or Free Jazz in which A Day in the City is a great example of his Free style. Born in 1935 he’s still playing in todays jazz scene. Straight Ahead is his 2008 album of trio jazz. A true veteran of classic jazz.
John Hicks =For years a New York based artist with many gigs at all the local clubs, a great bop pianist whom was influenced by Fatts Waller, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, and George Gershwin. Many great albums, but I particularly enjoy his association with flautist and wife Else Wood. John Hicks Legacy Band was formed after his death in May 2006. Their first album “Mind Wine” is all about discovering his style of music.