|The lazy left hand plunking out the rhythm, as the right hand carries the melody—Erroll Garner's signature style at the piano is unmistakable. Garner probably achieved his greatest acclaim as the composer of Misty, one of the most-performed songs of all time—just ask Clint Eastwood. But the true pleasure of Garner's work are not his compositons, but his performances. He lacks the hard bebop edge of Dizzy Gillespie, but then he's more adventurous than the melodious stylings of someone likes Oscar Peterson. And he sure can make the keys dance.
This disc offers two 1964 installments of a BBC music series called Jazz 625, hosted by Steve Race, who seems like fodder for a future Mike Myers movie—yeah, baby. Basically Race introduces Garner's trio (Eddie Calhoun on bass, Kelly Martin on drums), and lets them go to it. Garner is obviously working incredibly hard, as we see the perspiration streaming down his face, yet his French cuffs remain nattily in place as his fingers fly. The BBC directors weren't content merely to hold back the camera—the good news about this is that we're treated to many tight shots of Garner's hands at work. The bad news: the dollying in and out can make the viewer a little queasy. In many respects, this is a disc better heard than seen.
It's a pleasure to see Garner communicating with the other musicians, but he's got basically nothing at all to say to his audience. But watching him do his thing—or, rather, listening to him—is more than enough.