Eli Yamin | You Can't Buy Swing

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You Can't Buy Swing

by Eli Yamin

Acoustic blues, bebop and swing. Angular and energetic melodies a la Thelonious Monk with a taste of gut bucket blues and a flair for romance and surprise. This CD will make you tap your toes and smile.
Genre: Jazz: Piano Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. I Want To Be A Teacher
6:09 $0.99
2. You Can't Buy Swing
6:28 $0.99
3. Getting Somewhere
4:25 $0.99
4. Well, You Better Not
5:27 $0.99
5. Bop To Normal
5:10 $0.99
6. Rwandan Child
8:34 $0.99
7. Just One
5:53 $0.99
8. Katiana's New Start
5:54 $0.99
9. Jacquet's Meditation
6:47 $0.99
10. Waltz On The Hudson
5:41 $0.99
11. In Walked Barry
1:44 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"This man has met Thelonious Monk."
Amiri Baraka, writer

Barry Harris, pianist

"Your music makes me want to move!"
Preeti Vasudevan, Choreographer

Eli Yamin is Artistic Director of The Jazz Drama Program and Director of Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy. He is a jazz pianist, composer, educator, broadcaster, bandleader and Steinway artist. Eli’s joyful and swinging piano playing has led him to perform at top concert halls and festivals in the United States, India, China, Mali, Japan and throughout Europe. Through his touring experiences, Eli is continually blown away by the power of jazz to uplift, inspire and build community all over the world. As a leading educator passionately committed to expanding the jazz audience, Eli is teaching jazz to business leaders, middle school students, music teachers and college professors. He is a consultant for The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad, produced with the U.S. State Department, the National Endowment for the Arts, Fordham University Graduate School of Business and WBGO Radio. Eli’s six jazz musicals for children have been performed for thousands of people by hundreds of young folks. They include Message From Saturn, about the healing power of the blues and Nora’s Ark, a modern retelling of the biblical tale. He has recorded numerous CD's including Suns of Cosmic Consciousness, with the group Solar, and most recently, You Can't Buy Swing, with the Eli Yamin Quartet. Eli has played, recorded and taught with Barry Harris, Wynton Marsalis, Illinois Jacquet, Walter Perkins, Perry Robinson, Mercedes Ellington, Kate McGarry, Claire Daly and Bob Stewart. Eli holds a Master's Degree in Music Education from Lehman College, City University of New York and has appeared on CBS Saturday Morning, PBS, Fox News and National Public Radio.



to write a review

George Kanzler

You Can't Buy Swing
You Can't Buy Swing
Eli Yamin | Self Produced (2008)

By George Kanzler

Pianist Eli Yamin is a communicator who believes jazz can foster a sense of community. His work is expansive and extroverted, populist in the best sense. As a teacher—he's now part of Jazz at Lincoln Center's education program—he's created jazz dramas and the dramatic impulse is a strong component of his music. So is swing. This album's title comes from a saying by a drummer who worked often with Yamin, the late Walter Perkins: "You can't buy swing, baby sweets. You can take the biggest name musicians and pay 'em a whole bunch of money and it's not necessarily going to swing." The rhythm section here—bassist Ari Roland and drummer Alvin Atkinson—definitely swings, benefiting from having recently made a State Department-sponsored foreign tour.

The opening track, "I Want To Be A Teacher," as well as "Well, You Better Not," derive from jazz dramas Yamin wrote during his tenure at Louis Armstrong Middle School. Both are contrafacts of Thelonious Monk tunes, "Let's Cool One" and "Well, You Needn't" respectively. They display Yamin's command of Monk devices and flourishes, delivered with exuberance. Chris Byars, who completes the quartet on all but two tracks, finds the Monk groove on soprano and alto saxophones. Alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, who Yamin met when she was a student at LaGuardia High School, digs into the backbeat shuffle of the title tune and bright swirls of "Katiana's New Start."

In his impressive command of jazz piano traditions—referencing Erroll Garner, Ahmad Jamal or Abdullah Ibrahim as easily as Monk—Yamin is reminiscent of the late Jaki Byard, another expansive omnivore of jazz. On "Rwandian Child," a trio track with sax backgrounds at the heart of the album, Yamin builds a dramatically fulfilling performance, personalizing a full spectrum of jazz piano traditions.

Visit Eli Yamin on the web.

Track listing: I Want To Be A Teacher; You Can’t Buy Swing; Getting Somewhere; Well, You Better Not; Bop To Normal; Rwandan Child; Just One; Katiana’s New Start; Jacquet’s Meditation; Waltz On The Hudson; In Walked Barry.

Personnel: Chris Byars: saxophone, flute, conga; Lakecia Benjamin: saxophone; Ari Roland: bass; Alvin Atkinson: drums; Eli Yamin: piano.

Style: Mainstream/Bop/Hard Bop/Cool
Published: November 18, 2008
This article first appeared in All About Jazz: New York.

Thomas Conrad

You Can't Buy Swing
Eli Yamin is a high-energy straightahead piano player who is also an educator, consultant, DJ, and overall proselytizer for jazz. The first five tracks of this album could be a party record. They are all about having a hard-swinging good time.

The sixth track, “Rwandan Child,” opened by bassist Ari Roland, stops you cold. Elsewhere on You Can’t Buy Swing, Roland plays the arco bass solos he is known for, like dark wind through trees. But on “Rwandan Child” he is pizzicato, slow and sorrowful and ceremonial. Yamin plays a melody surprisingly lyrical but it becomes powerful left-hand chords of protest and right-hand tremolos that hang in the air like death knells. This was never meant to be a party record.

Yamin is also a clever thinker about Monk. “I Want to Be a Teacher” and “Well, You Better Not” freely reimagine “Let’s Cool One” and “Well, You Needn’t.” Yamin sublimates Monk’s jolts of deadpan discord into his own smoother style. Monk’s careening exuberance is not sublimated, but embraced. Besides, the band here is too strong for a party record. Is there anyone in jazz more consistently creative on more instruments than Chris Byars? His tenor saxophone solo on “Jacquet’s Meditation” is a remarkably complete improvised design that becomes increasingly convoluted and intense yet stays just above a whisper.

Harry Miller

I just bought some swing

Peter Krasnow

You Can't Buy Swing
Eli Yamin is a wonderful jazz pianist that composes truly original tunes. For me, his melodies are not only uniquely memorable but on many of these tracks they are haunting, for instance as heard on "Rwandan Child". I have Eli's other two CDs "Pushing Thirty" and "Solar: Suns of Cosmic Consciouness". Each album has a special place of its own in the jazz library. I was amazed by his reintroduction of "Waltz On The Hudson" in his latest album after hearing so often with Solar; Chris Byars' solo performance on flute is captivately on this tune. All the musicians on this album are accomplished and work tightly together as a group producing an albmum original, contemporary and classic.
Come see Eli and his ensemble perform; you'll enjoy a wonderful and uplifting evening.