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Harry Allen|New York State of Mind

New York State of Mind

Harry Allen, Rossano Sportiello, Joel Forbes, Chuck Riggs, John Allred

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Swing to bop tenor saxophonist Harry Allen breezes along in style with his rounded and literate sound on yet another album, this time of New York City-inspired show tune standards played with heart and easygoing feeling. Several tracks feature the excellent trombonist John Allred, who by now should be garnering more attention as a Top Five performer on his instrument in the mainstream jazz world, and proves all he is worth alongside Allen. The tracks without the extra horn are not as interesting, but certainly give their share of pleasure for Allen's fans who enjoy his post-Lester Young/Stan Getz derivations. Pianist Rossano Sportiello is a crown jewel in these songs that glide along effortlessly, buoying Allen's swing on the lesser-known "Rose of Washington Square" from the repertoire of Red Nichols, a solidly-in-the-tradition "Broadway Melody," and Cole Porter's steady "Down in the Depths of the 90th Floor" (sung many years ago by Ethel Merman) with a drum intro by veteran Chuck Riggs. The typically sultry "Harlem Nocturne" is done so very slowly, it virtually crawls, while the Billy Joel ballad title track always seems a throwaway knock-off, and out of place. The highlight jams with Allen and Allred together include the Dixieland-style, counterpointed "Sidewalks of New York" written back in 1894, "Puttin' on the Ritz" with the horns trading quick and jabbing blows, a light bossa version "New York, New York," and a classic, happy take of "Chinatown My Chinatown," always a favorite in the book of Louis Armstrong. "Autumn in New York" has the lead instruments in patient, polite hand-offs, like a football backfield in slow motion. There's nothing fancy or extroverted about this music, just that it is honest should be good enough for anyone who enjoys mainstream jazz minus overt modernism. One wonders how many of these concept albums Allen will continue to churn out, but it most assuredly appeals to an audience willing to embrace it. Overall, New York State of Mind is a good follow-up to Allen's previous effort Hits by Brits.
© Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

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New York State of Mind

Harry Allen

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1
Puttin' on the Ritz
00:06:35

Irving Berlin, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist - John Allred, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

2
Harlem Nocturne
00:03:43

Dick Rogers, Composer - Earle Hagen, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

3
Broadway Melody
00:05:40

ARTHUR FREED, Composer - NACIO HERB BROWN, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

4
Autumn in New York
00:06:51

Vernon Duke, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist - John Allred, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

5
Down in the Depths on the 90th Floor
00:04:51

Cole Porter, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

6
Sidwalks of New York
00:07:40

James W. Blake, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist - Charles Lawler, Composer - John Allred, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

7
New York State of Mind
00:07:55

BILLY JOEL, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

8
Rose of Washington Square
00:07:25

James Hanley, Composer - BALLARD MACDONALD, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist - John Allred, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

9
New York, New York
00:06:36

Fred Ebb, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist - John Kandor, Composer - John Allred, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

10
Chinatown My Chinatown
00:06:01

William Jerome, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist - Jean Schwarz, Composer - John Allred, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

11
Manhattan Serenade
00:05:00

Harold Adamson, Composer - Louis Alter, Composer - Harry Allen, MainArtist - Rossano Sportiello, MainArtist - Joel Forbes, MainArtist - Chuck Riggs, MainArtist

(C) 2009 Challenge Records (P) 2009 Challenge Records

Album Description

Swing to bop tenor saxophonist Harry Allen breezes along in style with his rounded and literate sound on yet another album, this time of New York City-inspired show tune standards played with heart and easygoing feeling. Several tracks feature the excellent trombonist John Allred, who by now should be garnering more attention as a Top Five performer on his instrument in the mainstream jazz world, and proves all he is worth alongside Allen. The tracks without the extra horn are not as interesting, but certainly give their share of pleasure for Allen's fans who enjoy his post-Lester Young/Stan Getz derivations. Pianist Rossano Sportiello is a crown jewel in these songs that glide along effortlessly, buoying Allen's swing on the lesser-known "Rose of Washington Square" from the repertoire of Red Nichols, a solidly-in-the-tradition "Broadway Melody," and Cole Porter's steady "Down in the Depths of the 90th Floor" (sung many years ago by Ethel Merman) with a drum intro by veteran Chuck Riggs. The typically sultry "Harlem Nocturne" is done so very slowly, it virtually crawls, while the Billy Joel ballad title track always seems a throwaway knock-off, and out of place. The highlight jams with Allen and Allred together include the Dixieland-style, counterpointed "Sidewalks of New York" written back in 1894, "Puttin' on the Ritz" with the horns trading quick and jabbing blows, a light bossa version "New York, New York," and a classic, happy take of "Chinatown My Chinatown," always a favorite in the book of Louis Armstrong. "Autumn in New York" has the lead instruments in patient, polite hand-offs, like a football backfield in slow motion. There's nothing fancy or extroverted about this music, just that it is honest should be good enough for anyone who enjoys mainstream jazz minus overt modernism. One wonders how many of these concept albums Allen will continue to churn out, but it most assuredly appeals to an audience willing to embrace it. Overall, New York State of Mind is a good follow-up to Allen's previous effort Hits by Brits.
© Michael G. Nastos /TiVo

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