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Harry Allen|Harry Allen Plays Ellington Songs

Harry Allen Plays Ellington Songs

Harry Allen

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Allen's tenor sax sound is perfectly suited for the music of Duke Ellington. His literate, traditional approach and occasionally Stan Getz-ian breathy tones go to the heart of Duke's melodic and harmonic concepts. Pianist Bill Charlap is excellent through and through, while bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington are dutiful in attending to their swing. Several of these tracks are read pretty straight, as the ballad "Lush Life," the easy swinger "Just Squeeze Me," the Afro-Cuban to bop "Caravan," and the air-filled "Sophisticated Lady." But the band changes up the rest. At the least extreme, "Mood Indigo" is easy swing as opposed to balladic; "Take the A Train" is slowed way down with Allen and Charlap only, while the pianist plays the melody while Allen's tenor counter-swipes licks on "C Jam Blues." More adapted is the slow tick-tock to bossa of the usual wall-melting ballad "Solitude," and a low-down, lugubrious bluesy swing with Charlap loading up on the intro and melody of "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," with Allen's stacatto stopped accents. At their most energetic, the quartet charges hard and trade eights during the up-tempo workout "Cotton Tail," whereas Allen and bassist Washington in duet need no other instrumental accoutrements in order to rhythmically fire up "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing." This is most likely Allen's best batch yet, for he is a great interpreter rather than innovator. Duke did all the inventing necessary here, and this true collective quartet is hard to top. Recommended.
© Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

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Harry Allen Plays Ellington Songs

Harry Allen

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1
C-Jam Blues
00:07:10

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

2
Solitude
00:07:05

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

3
Mood Indigo
00:05:02

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

4
It Don't Mean a Thing
00:01:37

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

5
Lush Life
00:06:39

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

6
Just Squeeze Me
00:07:42

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

7
Things Ain't What They Used to Be
00:09:04

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

8
Caravan
00:04:18

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

9
Take the "A" Train
00:04:09

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

10
Cotton Tail
00:07:51

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

11
Sophisticated Lady
00:04:54

Harry Allen, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Slider Music (P) 2009 Slider Music

Album Description

Allen's tenor sax sound is perfectly suited for the music of Duke Ellington. His literate, traditional approach and occasionally Stan Getz-ian breathy tones go to the heart of Duke's melodic and harmonic concepts. Pianist Bill Charlap is excellent through and through, while bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington are dutiful in attending to their swing. Several of these tracks are read pretty straight, as the ballad "Lush Life," the easy swinger "Just Squeeze Me," the Afro-Cuban to bop "Caravan," and the air-filled "Sophisticated Lady." But the band changes up the rest. At the least extreme, "Mood Indigo" is easy swing as opposed to balladic; "Take the A Train" is slowed way down with Allen and Charlap only, while the pianist plays the melody while Allen's tenor counter-swipes licks on "C Jam Blues." More adapted is the slow tick-tock to bossa of the usual wall-melting ballad "Solitude," and a low-down, lugubrious bluesy swing with Charlap loading up on the intro and melody of "Things Ain't What They Used to Be," with Allen's stacatto stopped accents. At their most energetic, the quartet charges hard and trade eights during the up-tempo workout "Cotton Tail," whereas Allen and bassist Washington in duet need no other instrumental accoutrements in order to rhythmically fire up "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing." This is most likely Allen's best batch yet, for he is a great interpreter rather than innovator. Duke did all the inventing necessary here, and this true collective quartet is hard to top. Recommended.
© Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

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