Lester Young believed that every jazz player should know the lyrics of the song he plays. Listening to this collection of ballads, it is quite evident that Don Menza is one of those players. This lyrical tradition is reflected in Don’s sense of line, although, he says, he also hears in this album elements of all the saxophonists he has admired, including Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, and particularly Gene Ammons. “And of course,” he said with a smile, “I hear a lot of myself.”
A similar lyrical sense infuses Frank Strazzeri’s playing. And the tradition is particularly conspicuous in his exquisite tone. Few pianists have anything like the warm and sensitive touch Strazzeri has. Singers all know the joy of working with only a superbly sensitive pianist for accompaniment. After hearing this album of beautiful ballads, I have only to say: It’s superb —warm and soft and gentle and moving. It sings.
—Gene Lees, 1987 (Lyricist and writer)
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