"INDIANA ON Our Minds" is an homage to those unlikely Hoosiers -- Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael -- performed by Washington's best kept secret, pianist John Eaton. Granted, Eaton is better known than he once was, thanks in large part to his perennially sold-out series on American popular music at the Smithsonian, but he's still not within shouting distance of the recognition his talent, wit and erudition deserve.
Maybe this solo piano release will spread the word, though somehow one suspects Eaton isn't holding his breath. The 17 performances combine the familiar ("Stardust," "Anything Goes") with the relatively obscure ("Washboard Blues," "Dream Dancing") in ways that are invariably fresh and melodic. Some arrangements radiate a quaint, old-fashioned charm, others hew to an infectious swing pulse or sparkle with unexpected intros and harmonies, and all reflect the great affection Eaton clearly holds for the composers.
Oh yes, concerning the aforementioned wit and erudition: Listeners who haven't heard Eaton hold forth at the Smithsonian can get a glimpse of what they've been missing here when he examines the Porter-Carmichael legacy in a revealing 11-minute spoken coda.
JOHN EATON -- "Indiana on Our Minds" (Chiaroscuro). Appearing Friday and Saturday at Cates.