The Ivory Hunters (subtitled Double Barrelled Piano) is an album by jazz pianists Bill Evans and Bob Brookmeyer, originally released on the United Artists label, featuring Evans and Brookmeyer with Percy Heath, and Connie Kay, recorded in 1959.
AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos:
When Bill Evans agreed to do a two piano date with Bob Brookmeyer, eyebrows surely must have raised. Pairing a rising superstar of modern jazz with a gentleman known for playing valve trombone and arranging charts might have been deemed by some as a daunting task. Fortunately for the keyboardists, this was a good idea and a marvelous concept, where the two could use the concept of counterpoint and improvisation to an enjoyable means, much like a great chess match. For the listener, you are easily able to hear the difference between ostensible leader Evans in the right channel of the stereo separation, and the accompanist Brookmeyer in the left. The opener “Honeysuckle Rose” gives a basic idea of what to expect, as Evans leads out, Brookmeyer counters his moves, and they trade riffs in an inventive bridge. “The Way You Look Tonight” is similar as Brookmeyer is more playful in his chiming chords and second melody line. The energy level is very good here, as well as on the democratic, funky contemporary intro to the easy swing of “It Could Happen to You” and “I Got Rhythm,” jam-packed with fun plus risk-taking. There’s a different give and take during “The Man I Love,” and they turn the lamp down low on a delicate version of “As Time Goes By” as the pianists trade leads, and bassist Percy Heath adopts a more pronounced role. It is Heath and drummer Connie Kay, on loan from the Modern Jazz Quartet, who precisely and firmly cement rhythmic elements, allowing the pianists to use space, harmony, wit and wisdom to full effect. Some have called this an effort based more on gimmick and showmanship, but if you agree to listen closely, the depth and substance of Evans and Brookmeyer reveals a lot of soul, invention, and musicians simply having a real good time. It would be nice to hear any alternate takes from this marvelous date (http://www.allmusic.com/album/the-ivory-hunters-mw0000110601).
“Honeysuckle Rose” (Andy Razaf, Fats Waller) – 5:55
“As Time Goes By” (Herman Hupfeld) – 6:58
“The Way You Look Tonight” (Dorothy Fields, Jerome Kern) – 7:41
“It Could Happen to You” (Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen) – 7:28
“The Man I Love” (Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin) – 5:58
“I Got Rhythm” (Gershwin, Gershwin) – 8:34
Recorded in New York City on March 12, 1959
Bill Evans – piano
Bob Brookmeyer – piano
Percy Heath – bass
Connie Kay – drums
Released: End of September 1959
Recorded: March 12, 1959
Label: United Artists
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