Monday, July 15, 2013

John Dennis - New Piano Expressions

Obsessive jazz collectors -- the kind of people who go wild when they hear the word "rare" -- love obscurity. They love to be able to tell their friends about a talented but little-known improviser who few people have heard of. Obsessive jazz collectors are the people Fantasy caters to with the Limited Edition line of its Original Jazz Classics (OJC) series. While the regular OJCs can appeal to both casual and hardcore jazz fans, the Limited Edition OJCs are usually aimed at serious collectors. One obscure artist who was perfect for a Limited Edition OJC was John Dennis, a '50s pianist whose influences ranged from Bud Powell to Erroll Garner. Unfortunately, Dennis wasn't recorded extensively, although he was featured on Thad Jones' 1955 Debut date The Fabulous Thad Jones and provided his own New Piano Expressions for Debut that same year. The material on this album falls into two categories: unaccompanied solo piano performances and trio numbers with Charles Mingus (acoustic bass) and Max Roach (drums). Dennis, whose clean, sophisticated approach often underscores his appreciation of classical music, is as appealing on original compositions as he is on performances of well-known standards such as "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Cherokee." In the '50s, New Piano Expressions first came out as an eight-song LP. Then, in 1994, the album became a 12-song, 56-minute CD when Fantasy reissued it and added four bonus tracks, including an alternate take of "Cherokee" and two takes of "All the Things You Are." Before New Piano Expressions came out on CD, those bonus tracks had only been available on Fantasy's Mingus boxed set, The Complete Debut Recordings. New Piano Expressions is an appealing effort from a pianist who deserved a lot more attention than he received.
Alex Henderson

Source :

John Dennis
New Piano Expressions


1 Ensenada (Dennis)  5:25
2 Machajo (Dennis, Mingus, Roach)  4:02
3 Cherokee (Noble)  4:17
4 Seven Moons (Dennis)  4:03
5 Seven Moons [alt. take] (Dennis)  4:19
6 All the Things You Are [take one] (Hammerstein II, Kern)  5:27
7 All the Things You Are [take one] (Hammerstein II, Kern)  4:12
8 Cherokee [alt. take] (Noble)  5:11
9 Odyssey (Dennis)  4:18
10 Chartreuse (Dennis)  3:53
11 Variegations (Dennis)  6:33
12 Someone to Watch over Me (Gershwin, Gershwin)  3:44

John Dennis - p
Charles Mingus - b
Max Roach - dr

Recorded in Hackensack, New Jersey ; 1955


Melanchthon said...

El Tortuga said...

what a pitty, such nice records but no way to dl with rs... you may have your reasons.

deGallo said...

I still have a pro account at RS but only one month at a time. So for now RS is very fast for me. Monthly is more expensive but the rumor is that RS is going out of business as they have dismissed over half of their employees.
Thank you for this album. I do not have anything else by him at least as a leader.

DJ Flipside said...

To El Tortuga:
You have to be patient if you haven't got a pro account. The files usually download in a couple of hours (and surprise, surprise! you don't have to be watching it!!!)
The real pitty, as you say, is that you can't leave a note of appreciation for the priceless service this guy is providing all of us!
So, Mel on behalf of El Tortuga, thank you for all your work - being patient and appreciative makes the world go round.
DJ Flipside

El Tortuga said...

Thank you Mr. Flipside, for thanking on my behalf! I do not lack appreciation for this wonderful site and I'm usually not too shy to say things on my own. The Dls are not working for me but i see that many have no problem with it. This does not minimize my appreciation for the work done here. I love to see and read about that records even if i can't listen to them all. just that sometimes i wish i could... So may i thank you a thousand times more Mel?

der bajazzo said...

I am no fan of Rapidshare but it is downloading, however very slowly and I can live with that.

To you, Melanchthon, I am very appreciative of your share of this obscure LP - I've never heard of John Dennis but I'm sure I'm going to enjoy it. Thank you very much.

neil said...

I, too, have never heard of John Dennis; but that rhythm section is very familiar! Many thanks, mel...

danair said...

Thanks Mel.

Rodney said...

Thank you. mel.

duck said...

Hi Mel, you have done it again, found something quite special, as always greatly appreciated and enjoyed. Thanks

fcapeau said...

Many thanks, Mel, for this Gem.
This well-known part of legendary Mingus' Debut records label is welcome back, after more than twenty years' (i didn't made any verification) Mingus Debut Box release (12 Cds) !!
If anybody's interested, i can upload that stuff.

glinka21 said...

No longer available.