The Randy Porter Trio
Randy Porter, piano
John Wiitala, bass
Todd Strait, drums
A growing number of listeners and musicians have come to appreciate Dave Frishberg as a composer, lyricist and pianist, yet his name is relatively little known to the larger public. Most recordings of Frishberg’s music or lyrics understandably feature vocalists. My hope is that Dave’s music also has the prominence to reach you “Unsung”. Perhaps by now, even with a purely instrumental interpretation, we can sense his message through the melody, the humor through the harmony, and the rhyming through the rhythm, not unlike his predecessors of the Great American songbook. – RP, Lake Oswego, OR 6/1/2020.
Dave Frishberg is famous as a songwriter who writes lyrics that are both humorous and insightful, and as a swing-oriented jazz pianist. His original compositions have uplifted the repertoire of many singers, but on Unsung pianist Randy Porter decided to do something different.
Porter, who is based in Oregon, has worked with such notables as Charles McPherson, Freddie Hubbard, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Diane Schuur, Karrin Allyson, and Rebecca Kilgore in addition to leading his own groups. For his Dave Frishberg tribute, he has become the first musician to record a full instrumental set of Frishberg compositions.
The well-titled Unsung has a dozen of Frishberg’s better songs, most of which are closely identified with singers. How often does one hear instrumental versions of “I’m Hip,” “I Want To Be A Sideman” (which is a real swinger), “You Are There,” “The Dear Departed Past,” and “Peel Me A Grape?” Porter, with bassist John Witala and drummer Todd Strait, shows that these songs not only have memorable lyrics but viable melodies and chord changes too, performing them as modern jazz compositions.
It all works well, making the surprising Unsung (available fromwww.randyporter.com) an easily recommended acquisition.–Scott Yanow, LA Jazz Scene 7/2020