Archive for June 13th, 2015

Harry Allen – For George, Cole and Duke

There is the tried and trite practice of dipping into the “American Songbook,” remaking jazz standards that have been remade and remade. On the other hand, there is the more focused effort to recapture the magic, while at the same time making it fresh and personal. That’s the approach saxophonist Harry Allen takes with For George, Cole and Duke (Blue Heron Records, 2015), his tribute to the songs of George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington.

Allen plays tenor sax. With him are Ehud Asherie, piano; Nicki Parrott, upright bass and vocals; Chuck Redd, drums and vibraphone; and special guest, “Little Johnny” Rivero, shakers, conga and bongo on three tracks.

Parrott sings lead on the Ellington/Gabler collaboration, “In a Mellow Tone.” Asherie lays the foundation, with Allen coming in with fills after vocal lines. It’s a bright, delightful adaptation of the classic. The piano break adds to that mood. Allen does likewise when it’s his turn out front. As if singing weren’t enough, Parrott also contributes a bass solo, in call and response with Redd.

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