MCA's short-lived Decca CD-reissue program put out this gem, all of Tatum's piano solos from 1940, including two versions of the previously unknown "Sweet Emalina, My Gal." Some of the routines on these standards were a bit familiar by now (this "Tiger Rag" pales next to his 1933 version) but are no less exciting and still sound seemingly impossible to play.
The term "New York downtown jazz" is sometimes frowned upon by its practitioners, who tend to feel stylistically pigeonholed by the description and also linked to a certain club south of Canal Street, about which many feel ambivalent at best. There might be a number of reasons for these members of the New York creative music community to roll their eyes at yet another reference to "downtowners" (not the least of which being that many of them live in Brooklyn), but they must at least acknowledge that the downtown scene is usually described in positive terms – edgy, progressive, boundary-stretching, adventurous, non-idiomatic – in contrast to the Midtown scene surrounding Wynton Marsalis and Lincoln Center, which, while credited with keeping the flame of classic modern jazz alive in America, has also been accused of a certain stodgy, retro, parochial, and limited sensibility in today's current, all-encompassing world of jazz and creative improvisation.
This is an all-star summit that works quite well. Pianist Michel Petrucciani, a major jazz musician who had already led 11 record dates by this time (despite still being only 23), teams up with guitarist Jim Hall at the 1986 Montreux Jazz Festival for two lyrical duets: the altered blues "Careful," in which they comp exquisitely behind each other's solos, and "In a Sentimental Mood." Petrucciani and Hall are joined by Wayne Shorter on soprano and tenor for "Limbo," "Morning Blues," and the calypso "Bimini," and these songs feature some of Shorter's finest jazz playing of the era.