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This installment in the Compact Jazz series makes for a fine introduction to Garner's mid-'50s Mercury sides. Alongside the original version of his signature tune, "Misty," other standout trio tracks include "There's a Small Hotel" and "Exactly Like You." Showcasing Garner's almost symphonic piano conception, solo gems like "A Cottage for Sale," "Sleep," and "It's the Talk of the Town" are also featured. (Those interested in more of Garner's inspired solo piano work are directed to his fine Mercury release Solitaire.) And topping off this focused offering are three Latinized standards with conga player Candido, including enjoyable versions of "Russian Lullaby" and "Begin the Beguine." Even though many feel that Garner was settling into a well-worn routine at this juncture (one that would continue bringing him fame throughout the '60s), these sides still sound fresh and offer more than enough in the way of challenging solos. And with the added bonus of superior sound, Compact Jazz qualifies as a fine starting point for newcomers to Garner's music; other viable first discs include the pianist's top-notch, early-'50s titles on Columbia (Body and Soul, Long Ago and Far Away, etc.).
Review by Stephen Cook
|3||A Cottage for Sale||6:21|
|4||Oh, Lady Be Good||2:33|
|5||All My Loves Are You||5:00|
|6||That Old Black Magic||5:20|
|7||There's a Small Hotel||3:09|
|10||It's the Talk of the Town||5:59|
|11||Exactly Like You||3:11|
|12||I'll Never Smile Again||5:30|
|13||Begin the Beguine||4:39|
|14||You Are My Sunshine||3:26|
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