Here's a potential blindfold test item that might separate the men from the boys. Hampton Hawes was a funkmeister supreme, a swinging stylist whose notes were etched in blue. Like Horace Silver, an obvious keyboard influence, Hawes's piano work was steadfast in its allegiance to the basic principals of hard bop. Given the opportunity, he'd rock the joint and then come back to offer a second helping.
That's why it's instructive to hear recordings like this that blow the lid off of hardened notions of musicianly style. Here Hawes takes on the the echt jazz impressionist ballad and does quite a convincing job with it. He's obviously heard Bill Evans, but doesn't mimic him. Hawes finds his own way into the tune, yet, paradoxically, it would be hard to identify the playing as his. In all, it's an enjoyable lesson in the importance of avoiding preconceptions.