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Ehud Asherie: Modern Life (2010)

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Ehud Asherie: Modern Life How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Modern life, if this fine recording from Israeli-born, New York-based pianist Ehud Asherie is anything to go by, happened sometime between the late-1940s and the late-'50s. From the beautifully-designed packaging—with the greens and golds of the graphics matched by those of Asherie's suit, shirt and tie—to the exquisite renditions of classic tunes and a couple of Asherie originals, Modern Life is an album that oozes nostalgia and a love for a style of jazz that remains fresh and engaging today.

Asherie's piano style reflects the inspiration of players such as Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner
1921 - 1977
piano
. Light and lyrical, it's an approach that creates delightful solos on Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern
1895 - 1945
arranger
's "I've Told Every Little Star" and Asherie's own "Blues for George," as well as understated and note-perfect accompaniments throughout. Both talents are shown to great effect on George Gershwin
George Gershwin
George Gershwin
1898 - 1937
composer/conductor
's "He Loves and She Loves," with Asherie's feather-light accompaniment to Harry Allen
Harry Allen
Harry Allen
b.1966
saxophone
's saxophone moving effortlessly into his own sparkling solo. This tune also highlights the rhythm section of bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Chuck Riggs
Chuck Riggs
Chuck Riggs
b.1951
drums
, with both players showing a deft economy that ensures an ideal foundation for the lead instruments.

The sound of Allen's tenor sax goes straight back to Ben Webster
Ben Webster
Ben Webster
1909 - 1973
sax, tenor
via Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
Zoot Sims
1925 - 1985
sax, tenor
, making this recording very special indeed. His tone is warm and rich, whatever the tempo. On Hank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
' "Vignette" Allen's tenor positively skips across the melody, while on Tadd Dameron
Tadd Dameron
Tadd Dameron
1917 - 1965
arranger
's "Casbah" he's altogether more sultry and seductive, as he evokes a late night atmosphere of mystery and romance.

Asherie and Allen close out the album with a duet version of Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
1915 - 1967
piano
's "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing." They respond to the absence of Riggs and Forbes—not by attempting to fill in the spaces but by leaving them be. The result is a languid and relaxed performance of great beauty. Indeed, great beauty is a characteristic to be found throughout Modern Life.

Track Listing: I've Told Every Little Star; Blues for George; The Trolley Song; He Loves and She Loves; Vignette; One for V; No Moon at All; Casbah; Soon; A Flower is a Lovesome Thing.

Personnel: Ehud Asherie: piano; Harry Allen: saxophone; Joel Forbes: bass; Chuck Riggs: drums.

Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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