Allan Vaché and Harry Allen follow in the long and illustrious traditions of the jazz quintet with this high quality studio recording. Joined by a first class rhythm section of Eddie Higgins on piano, Phil Flanigan on bass and Eddie Metz on drums, they journey through 13 tunes, most of them familiar standards, and take almost a generous 70 minutes to complete their trip, for which we should be grateful. Vaché has been one of those in the forefront of the resurgence of the clarinet as one of the more important instrumental voices in jazz. Perhaps not up to the level of the period from the 1920's through the 1940's, it has regained much of the ground it lost after that period. Harry Allen, like his playing partner, is one of the younger lions on today's jazz scenes and comports himself with elan and verve during this session. All tracks attain the outstanding level. Phil Flanigan's original title tune is the playground for an Allan and Allen give and take as well as playing in harmonious unison. Flanigan, naturally, gets in a few solo licks as does the light-fingered Eddie Higgins on piano. One of the more poignant tracks on the set is Allen's rendering of "Where Are You" showing an allegiance to the style of Ben Webster who recorded this song in 1957. "Stealin' Apples" belongs to Vaché as he honors, not imitates, Benny Goodman. Lester Young is remembered not only as a seminal tenor, but also as an under recognized clarinetist, with a medium tempo interpretation of Young's "Tickle Toe".
Allan and Allen is another shimmering release by the stalwart and steadfast Nagel Heyer label. They have enlivened the jazz scene in recent years with one after another release of excellent middle of the road, eminently enjoyable jazz albums. Easily recommended.
Track Listing: Lover Come Back to Me; Jive at Five; Lake Ponchartrain Blues; Allan and Allen; Where Are You; What Can I Say after I Say I'm Sorry; Straighten up and Fly Right; You Go to My Head; Tickle Toe; Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars); Ben's Blues; Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me; Stealin' Apples