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Ehud Asherie featuring Harry Allen: Modern Life (2010)

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

It is rare indeed to discover a young pianist, so obviously neither a baby nor a Baby Boomer, who is steeped in the history and tradition of American music from the turn of the twentieth century onwards. To find he can write a mean blues is a wonder and more than a joy to hear. To then get him in the studio in the company of someone like tenor saxophonist Harry Allen
Harry Allen
Harry Allen
b.1966
saxophone
must be any producer's dream, but Marc Free made it happen. Ehud Asherie and Harry Allen are swinging madly on Modern Life. The two musicians seem soul brothers and though several years may separate them, they appear to be attuned to each other's consciousness as if they were twins.

Asherie is a pianist who has obviously listened to Tommy Flanagan

Tommy Flanagan
Tommy Flanagan
1930 - 2001
piano
and perhaps even Jimmy Rowles
Jimmy Rowles
Jimmy Rowles
1918 - 1996
piano
. As a composer, Asherie is influenced by the compositional style and early music of Hank Jones
Hank Jones
Hank Jones
1918 - 2010
piano
. Asherie flavors the melodious twists and turns of the charts he writes, but he's his own man as a soloist, with a right hand that rolls delightfully over the black and white. His expression is genteel, and his dynamic is so tuned to the rhythm of what he is playing, he would be wonderful to dance to. His pianistic vocabulary when he solos is sophisticated. He tantalizes with darting phrases and lines that suddenly stop, then fly off again. And when the line returns it is often inside out, a steady flow of surprises unfolding in its wake. To that extent, both his blues are wonderfully crafted with uncommon erudition. The two blues—"Blues for George" and "One for V"—feature some exemplary writing. The elemental sadness of the melody hangs as the chart is paced just about half a beat slower, enough for a noisier tug at the strings of the heart.

The rest of the fare seems to have fallen into the musicians' studio full of stardust. It might have been calculated to provide a feature for Harry Allen. And this tenor saxophonist steps way up to the spotlight to play his part. His tone is low and majestic, sliding with almost divine glissandos from line to line. His broad sliding lines curve through the air and embellish every melody he plays, especially on "I've Told Every Star," crafted by Jerome Kern

Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern
1895 - 1945
arranger
. "No Moon at All," the David Mann/Redd Evans classic, penned in 1917, which says much about how far the musicians were prepared to go to preserve the emotion of the set is also wonderfully rendered recalling—almost—the fey character of Julie London
Julie London
Julie London
1926 - 2000
vocalist
's 1927 classic performance. On Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
Billy Strayhorn
1915 - 1967
piano
's "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing," Allen and Asherie virtually caress the melody in a spectacular, sensuous manner that keeps the air charged with emotion.

It would be sheer fallacy not to also acknowledge bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Chuck Riggs

Chuck Riggs
Chuck Riggs
b.1951
drums
, who have a symbiotic feel for the program. It is hard to imagine a better rhythm section that plays with such sensitivity for the material, or for the album's stars to shine ever brightly.

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: tenor saxophone; Joel Forbes: bass; Chuck Riggs: drums.

Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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