Bobby Shew And Bill Mays, Telepathy
It was a coincidence that could not have been more welcome if it had had been planned; One day, the mailwoman brought two new albums that feature pianist Bill Mays. One is a reissue that has an estimable bonus in the presence of trumpeter and flugelhornist Bobby Shew. Mays and Shew recorded their vinyl album Telepathy in 1978 for the all-but-forgotten Jazz Hounds record company. Jordi Pujol of the resourceful Fresh Sound label has rescued it from near-obscurity. At the time of the recording, Shew and Mays were key figures in the Los Angeles jazz community. The reissue underlines the understanding that they had whenever they played together, and their playing was with particular sensitivity in these duets. The pieces they chose were by songwriting giants–Richard Rodgers, Victor Herbert, Jerome Kern and Luis Bonfa among them. Superb melodists, Mays and Shew anticipate and support one another with uncanny attention to detail. That is true throughout the CD’s eight tracks. When they leave pure ballad mode, as they do in Herbert’s Indian Summer, the swing is gentle and irresistible. The title tunes, “Telepathy” and “Telepathy II,” are–as Shew explains in his insightful liner note–“totally spontaneous compositions.” For what it’s worth–and it’s worth plenty–the sound quality of this music recorded 41 years ago by recording engineer Jim Mooney and mastering guru Bernie Grundman gives recordists these days an example to emulate.
Bill Mays and Friends: Mays Plays Mays (No Blooze Music)
Four decades later, the pianist has recruited some of his closest associates for a new recording on his own label. In various combinations, Mays has worked frequently over several years with bassist Martin Wind, drummer Matt Wilson, guitarist John Hart and trumpeter Marvin Stamm. He features them in a new album on his own label. He wrote all of the music except for the George and Ira Gershwin standard “How Long Has This Been Going On?” His compositions include several new or previously unrecorded ones. One that has been recorded is the spirited “Snow Job.” We hear and see it in video from 2007, with Mays, Wind and Wilson at the top of their interactive game.
To see what else may be found on Bill Mays’ website, go here.