Kenny Drew was an unsung master of bebop. A brilliant pianist who started with the example of Bud Powell and then developed his own sound within the style, in the '50s Drew worked with some of the most important innovators of all time including Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Buddy DeFranco, Dinah Washington and Art Blakey. By 1960 when he recorded Undercurrent, Drew had already led ten albums of his own, mostly with duos and trios. Oddly enough he only had the opportunity to lead two albums in his life for Blue Note, an early effort from 1953 and the classic Undercurrent. Joined in a quintet by the young firebrand trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, the always-stimulating tenor-saxophonist Hank Mobley, bassist Sam Jones and drummer Louis Hayes, the 32-year old pianist shows that he was ready to truly make his mark on the jazz world. All six compositions are his, and in his accompaniment of the passionate horn men and also in his soulful solos, Drew shows that he was one of the major hard bop stylists. This high energy album, which finds Hubbard, Mobley and Drew consistently inspiring each other to come up with heated statements, has many of the pianist's finest compositions including the roaring ''Undercurrent,'' the bluesy ''Funk-Cosity,'' the gospellish ''The Pot's On,'' the well titled ''Groovin' The Blues'' and the beautiful ''Ballade.'' Kenny Drew, who would move permanently to Europe in 1964 and would not lead another album until 1973, is heard throughout at the peak of his powers, creating his finest recording.
Read Michael Fremer's review: http://www.analogplanet.com/content/music-matters-returns-33-13-and-some-mono-new-blue-note-reissues