Although Ralph Burns was a pianist in Woody Herman’s First and Second Herds, the power of his composing and arranging for Herman put his considerable keyboard talent in the shade. After his Herman years, he went on to a distinguished career as one of the major arrangers in jazz, movies, television, and Broadway. His piano playing was barely remembered. This reissue of Bijou and Spring Sequence is a welcome reminder that the elements of Burns’s arranging genius were also components of his piano playing. That is particularly true of his mastery of harmony. He makes orchestral use of chords in constructing his improvisations. The result is richness of texture and color buoyed by the sense of swing that infuses Burns’s arrangements. His compositions here include "Bijou," one of the greatest jazz originals, and the gorgeous ballad "Gina."
Spring Sequence, It Might as Well Be Spring, Spring Is Here, Sprang, Echo of Spring, Spring in Naples, Gina, Autobahn Blues; Lover, Come Back to Me; Perpetual Motion, Bijou