Such are two entrees I for some reason checked out back-to-back and feel they both deserve contendership for my fave ten releases for 2001. I'm speaking of Ways of the Hand by Marius Nordal and Lucky by Hans Teuber. Both are compelling and formidable.
In pianist Nordal - hearing his hip yet lush touch and amazing chops reminded me of first hearing such heavyweights as Erroll Garner, Phineas Newborn, and of course...Oscar, he's that deep - you have a musician that possesses a signature style that draws you in close and virtually takes you away. In Ways of the Hand - his own tribute to the piano legends - Marius swings soulfully and his ode to another virtual newcomer Henry Butler shows off a superior knowledge of the blues. Never before has an old chestnut like "All the Things You Are" literally galloped robustly into your nervous system from the get-go first track.
Guest vocalist Floyd Standifer blends his imitable pipes with Nordal's rapturous accompaniment on "Long Ago and Far Away" and "I Concentrate On You." Standifer's inclusion was a clever choice to elevate both him and Nordal in expanding their slightly obscure careers. KC veteran Bob Bowman rules as usual on bass working with Origin session drummer John Bishop effortlessly. Origin bassman Doug Miller steps in admirably on Marius' dreamy sendoff to Bill Evans' "Emily." Beautifully recorded and truly a well crafted musical adventure.