The Harry Allen - Joe Cohn Quartet: Hey, Look Me Over (2006)
The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet was recently nominated for the best small ensemble of the year by the Jazz Journalist Association for its 2006 Jazz Awards. Hey, Look Me Over offers several convincing reasons why. Playing a selection of jazz standards favoring the harmonious marriage of the tenor and guitar, Allen and Cohn fashion ten tracks of brisk and mellow music with a good dose of swing. Their quartet, featuring bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Chuck Riggs, performs regularly on the New York jazz scene.
Influenced by legendary saxophonist Stan Getz, Allen chose a staple of Getz's repertoire for the opener in "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair" to demonstrate his talents on tenor. The band opens up in swinging style with the Sammy Cahn tune "It's Been A Long, Long Time," featuring respectable solos by the leaders. The title track, a showcase piece for the band, finds Cohn taking center stage with a romp on guitar, followed by Forbes on bass and finishing with a high-pitched tenor statement by Allen.
The group turns soft and mellow on the Cahn/Van Heusen ballad "I'll Only Miss Her When I Think Of Her," with a deliciously soft and sleepy melody. Allen and Cohn use the familiar "Pick Yourself Up" to play off each other, going back and forth on this short and fun track. One of three compositions by Al Cohn (Joe Cohn's dad), and perhaps the best on this album, is "Danielle," played like a soft samba. Riggs uses the brushes, Allen does his best Getz interpretation, and Cohn strums the guitar like Charlie Byrd on this beautiful and memorable closer.
Hey, Look Me Over is a truly pleasant set of colorful and tasteful charts performed with grace and elegance. Allen and Cohn form the nucleus of a formidable, first-rate combo with a distinct style of its own. Take a hint from the title and look this one over... you may like what you hear.
Track Listing: With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair; Take Four; It's Been A Long, Long Time; Hey, Look Me Over; Seven Come Eleven; I'll Only Miss Her When I Think of Her; Travisimo; Get Out; Pick Yourself Up; Danielle.
Personnel: Harry Allen: tenor saxophone; Joe Cohn: guitar; Joel Forbes: bass; Chuck Riggs: drums.