Feeling Is Believing

“The Loving Touch”

(Mack Avenue Records)

Having established his bona fides in the early days of bebop, piano virtuoso Erroll Garner became a popular mainstream figure, with his classic 1955 release Concert by the Sea designated as one of the first blockbuster LPs in jazz. Always striving for artistic freedom and to reap a greater reward for his efforts, Garner co-founded Octave Records with his manager, Martha Glaser, and released albums that showcased his genius while also updating his sound and image for the 1960s and ’70s. The Mack Avenue label restored and expanded a dozen of these recordings, which they’ve released over the past year, and will be wrapping up the Octave Remastered Series in June. Feeling Is Believing, as the liner notes inform, was Garner’s first release of the 1970s, and he dives into then-current pop fare such as “Spinning Wheel” and “The Look of Love.” But this was hardly an artistic compromise for the middle-aged Garner, who brilliantly and energetically tackles the material with quick-fingered elan. “The Loving Touch,” our selection, starts out as a moody love song, with Garner’s wistful reverie shadowed by bassist George Duvivier and drummer Joe Cocuzzo. The tune brightens considerably when conga player Jose Mangual joins the trio and Garner displays the joyful sparkle for which he was revered. The album was nominated for a Grammy in 1970.

Purchase Album:

The Authoritative Voice in Jazz