Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Three pianists - Al Haig, Roland Hanna and Stanley Cowell - demonstrated Sunday night in a concert at the Smithsonian Institution some of the remarkable differences in modern jazz piano tradition.
In a Jazz Heritage Series concert at the Museum of Natural History, the three showed a variety of melodic, harmonic and keyboard differences.
Opening the concert, dedicated to Errol Garner, who died eight days ago, Hanna offered three pieces played in the Garner mold - broad melodic development, pumping rhythms and lush harmonies. He showed the Garner influence particularly in "Don't Blame Me," in which he employed lagging left hand chordal effects to give an impression of striding.
But Hanna wasn't mimicking Garner, as shown by "Paregia," a tranquil closing piece in which he offered a fine balance of dreamy melody and rhythm.
In contrast, Haig employed spare melodies and pulsating rhythms very much akin to the jazz of the 1940s in which he first became prominent. He performed "If You Could See Me Now," the Tadd Dameron ballad, with a combination of tenderness and bluntness.
Cowell was the most impressive technically of the three. His influences included 1920s stride piano style and the long melodic lines of Bud Powell of the 1950s. The youngest of the three, he was also the most commanding.
The three closed the concert with a rousing rendition of "How High the Moon."