Other Matters: Lilac Time

The Rifftides staff is up to his clavicle in non-Rifftides deadlines but wanted the readership to know that you are on his mind. He thought you would want to know that in the south forty, the lilacs and tulips are out.

Lilacs & Tulips 2014

Junior Mance, piano; Ray Brown, bass; and Lex Humphries, drums, supply the music by which to gaze at the lilacs, which are doing fine without rain, thanks.

That’s from Junior Mance and his Swinging Piano, a 1959 album that I thought was long unavailable. Turns out that it is not. Hooray.

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  1. Valerie Bishop says

    You guys up there are very fortunate to have one of my favorite flowers in your backyards! I have to pay outrageous prices for even a small bunch of them in L.A. but I absolutely have to have them. when I was a youngster in the Boston area, they were on our property too.

  2. Wayne Tucker says

    Seeing the lilac title today immediately brought to mind my favorite Jimmy Rowles album. I believe “Lilac Time” (1994 on Kokopelli Records) combines Jimmy’s incomparable piano gift with his lightly rumbling, but endearing, vocals into a great musical package. I have listened to this album hundreds of times, mostly late evenings with lights off headed to sleep. It is perfectly relaxing while rewarding close listening. The only other Rowles albums that come close for me are his Ellington/Strayhorn tribute and the one he recorded with Stan Getz that contains his gem, “The Peacocks.” Rowles is timeless, and his art is his simplicity.

  3. Jodi Burnett says

    Thank you for this post, Doug. It brought back so many good memories for so many reasons. My mom, Irene Kral was a huge lilac fan. I’d bring her armfuls of them–much to the dismay of the neighbors and their robbed gardens– when I was a little girl, and they’ve always been my favorite. To hear Junior Mance–one of my babysitters!–accompany the lilacs was the perfect, “Hi Mom!”
    I love your column! Alan Broadbent hipped me to it.
    Thanks again, Jodi

    • Jim Brown says

      I’ve been a huge Irene Kral fan since the first time I heard her on Maynard Ferguson’s Boy With Lots of Brass, recorded around 1957, with Jodi’s dad, Joe Burnett in the trumpet section. Other fans of Irene may remember that Junior Mance played on some of her earlier recordings, and Alan Broadbent on the later ones.

  4. dick vartanian says

    What a wonderful piano player. I had completely forgotten him. Somewhere in my collection I have an album of his from the fifties but I think it’s on a cassette. I will look for it.

  5. James Cimarusti says

    I, too, first thought of Jimmy Rowles’ “Lilac Time” album.It is one of my favorites also. The whole CD is fantastic with my favorite cut being “The Theme from ‘Arrest and Trial'” :)