While Dick Hyman has often concentrated in recent decades on playing classic jazz, stride and swing, he is a very rare pianist in that he can play credibly in any jazz style. Proof of that, if it was needed, can be heard on the Chiaroscuro Lp Themes & Variations on “A Child Is Born.”
This set from 1977 is rather remarkable for Hyman takes the Thad Jones song “A Child Is Born” and, after a straight rendition of the melody, interprets it as it might have been played by a dozen different pianists. Wittily adding some song quotes and pet phrases from the various pianists, he performs the song in the styles of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Erroll Garner, George Shearing, Cecil Taylor, Art Tatum, and Bill Evans, before playing a 17-minute exploration in his own voice.
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Themes & Variations on “A Child Is Born” (Chiaroscuro CR-198, 13 selections, TT = 45:40)