Dick Hyman's talents have long been known in the profession and by the jazz underground, but until the 1980s he seldom ventured out of the greater New York area as a solo performer. By the time he was lured into the Berkeley, California hills where the Maybeck Recital Hall is located, he had become immensely popular as a result of his appearances in San Francisco's "Jazz in the City" series as well as the Sacramento Dixieland Jubilee.
As Hyman played through his two long sets of songs from 1937, none in the audience were more than 20 feet away from his keyboard; seated on the piano bench he chatted and introduced each selection in a relaxed, conversational manner. It was, as you hear on this brilliantly recorded disc (which exudes the hall's warmth) a night to remember.
1937 was a significant year in American popular music -- "Your Hit Parade," just a couple of years old, became a top network radio show; the record industry was reviving, thanks in part to the juke box boom and inexpensive radio/phonographs for the home, and to the remarkable success of Benny Goodman's "swing music." Fine songs from the Broadway stage, from Hollywood soundtracks and from tunesmiths in Tin Pan Alley and elsewhere were heard by millions of listeners.