When mainstream jazz roared back after 1980, a few distinguished elders finally got some of the attention they deserved. Bop pianist Tommy Flanagan didn't record much for Blue Note in the '50s and '60s, but the label made belated amends with this live birthday date from New York's top basement, recorded when he turned 67 in 1997. (The dry recorded sound really captures that low-ceilinged room.) A model accompanist, notably for Ella Fitzgerald, Flanagan had good taste in abundance and superb timing, which stood him well after he went out on his own. He pares his lines back to just the notes that need playing, as on Ellington's lovely birdcall ballad "Sunset and the Mocking Bird." Flanagan's model accompanists are bassist Peter Washington and the superb drummer Lewis Nash, who spars here and there with the leader. It's a time-capsule-perfect portrait of New York club jazz late in the 20th Century.
By Britt Robson on 09.11.12 in Reviews
For those who complained about Sonny Rollins's often-mediocre sidemen through much of his tenure on the Milestone label, Old Flames offers Tommy Flanagan on piano and Jack DeJohnette on drums and, yes, it makes a differe...
By Kevin Whitehead on 01.23.09 in Spotlights
Muhal Richard Abrams is likely best known as a driving force behind the hugely influential Chicago co-op the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), but he's also an underappreciated composer. Not u...
By Britt Robson on 01.06.09 in Reviews
The difference between Tommy Flanagan and other urbane bop pianists is miniscule but crucial. The efficiency and economy of his ivory constructions are immaculate. Maybe Hank Jones and precious few others can sound so si...
By Ron Hart on 02.02.15 in Features
Celebrating Blue Note's 75th anniversary by examining its relationship with hip-hop