Reference: FSRCD 819
Bar code: 8427328608190
To the late, great jazz critic, Leonard Feather, pianist Don Randi was an astonishing performer. He is capable of swinging furiously, has a deathdefying technique and manages to combine his frantic excursions with an element of passionate communication that gives them much more than technical value. And, during the last months of 1960 the 23-year old brought these gifts to Hollywoods small club, The Losers, and kept a packed audience in a constant state of musical excitement with his wellintegrated trio. There was an appealingly gutty strength to his playing that everyone could feel, with a basic, strong, honest feeling for the blues, while his originalssuch as Feelin Like Blues, Blues for Miti or Take Six augured well for him as a composer.
Though he soon became one of the busiest keyboard players in the recording business, jazz was notand is notthe only string to his multiskilled bow. After gaining some popularity he also became a bandleader and arranger for Phil Spector; today he is recognized as being one of the original contributors of the famous Phil Spector Wall of Sound effect heard on hits of the 1960s and 70s. Despite a long career in popular music, Randi, as Feathers testimony and these recordings demonstrate, was a formidable jazz talent when he chose to exercise it.
"A longtime fixture in the Los Angeles area, Don Randi is best known as the proprietor of the North Hollywood club Baked Potato and for his longtime leadership of a popular fusion/crossover group, Quest. Raised in the Catskill Mountains of New York, Don Randi had classical music lessons for 13 years. He moved to the Los Angeles area in 1954. He then became a busy studio musician, appearing on and writing for a countless number of motion picture and television soundtracks, commercials, and pop albums. Randi recorded as a leader for World Pacific, Verve, Palomar, Reprise, Capitol, Poppy, Sheffield Lab, and Headfirst. Don Randi has continued to appear at the Baked Potato with Quest on a fairly regular basis, including a May 2010 show marking the club's 40th anniversary."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
"Recorded when he was a busy and much in-demand jazz pianist, these two trio sessions catch Randi at the top of his game. Solid support from Hemel and Stone on the first seven tracks suggests this might have been a regular working group. Certainly Randi had a long-running gig at the time at the Losers Club in Hollywood where he played to packed houses every night. He had a natural penchant for the blues and the samples here confirm that; Feelin Like, Ja-Da, Blues For Miti and T.J.s Blues all being good examples. Piano, bass and drums lock in together seamlessly to swing through Fallout, the notes tumbling out easily from the keyboard as the trio hit a strong groove.
Although highly talented as a jazz pianist, composer and bandleader, Randi was always involved in classical music and the more adventurous pop sounds; he was soon working for Phil Spector and a contributor to the Wall of Sound that became so admired in the 1960/70s. Blues For Miti mixed hard swing, blues chords and a liberal injection of gospel music.
There are eight more sterling tracks on the Where Do We Go LP, which used the upmarket combination of Vinnegar and the up and coming Mel Lewis. The pianist is still on great form although the natural, free flow seems to be missing. I suspect Lewis is the culprit; he swings hard and his time is spot on but he sounds very stiff and almost rigid at times. However, Vinnegar is on good form and together they produce an excellent 40-odd minutes of modern piano trio jazz."
Derek Ansell -May, 2014