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Harry Allen and the Physics of the Tenor Saxophone

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In Robert Altman's most underappreciated film Kansas City there is a memorable scene for music fans. In the 1930's at the Hey Hey club (one of the town's hotter venues) some of the more notable K.C. folk (politicians, society matrons, wealthy denizens) are having a good time. Everyone in town recognizes these eminent figures but ignores the black jazz musicians playing in the background. But for the film audience the musicians--Lester Young, Count Basie, Mary Lou Williams, Coleman Hawkins, Jay McShann and a young Charlie Parker--are the celebrities. History has made them famous and the white notables of 1930 have ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ehud Asherie with Harry Allen: Lower East Side

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In this day and age, when shock-and-awe maneuvers and new-thing sounds tend to get all the plaudits and press in jazz, it says a lot when a throwback duo date is widely admired by critics and fans alike. Such was the case with pianist Ehud Asherie's Upper West Side (Posi-Tone, 2012), which brought him into contact with like-minded saxophonist Harry Allen and presented a program of old chestnuts that were revived by their expert hands. Now, a year after that album first appeared in the marketplace, its companion piece has come to light. Upper West Side and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ehud Asherie and Harry Allen: Lower East Side

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Pianist Ehud Asherie and tenor saxophonist Harry Allen are established musical partners with a shared fondness for a time when songwriting giants like Irving Berlin and Richard Rodgers were at their creative zeniths. Lower East Side is the pair's second duo outing, following on from Upper West Side (Posi-Tone, 2012), and once again the two demonstrate how this fondness for a bygone era can still produce fresh and joyous music.The journey from Upper West Side to Lower East Side is geographically short--just a few miles. Musically, Esherie and Allen's journey is as brief as can be. Both albums ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harry Allen / Scott Hamilton: ‘Round Midnight

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Harry Allen and Scott Hamilton are two veteran tenor saxophonists whose individual careers have not prevented them from maintaining a friendship or performing together whenever possible. Their third joint project, Round Midnight presents new interpretations of nine standards in a quintet format offering far more solos than normally found in a group featuring one main artist. Their pairing is reminiscent of the great tenor team of Al Cohn and Zoot Sims, and builds on the foundation of other such bands from the past like that of the Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt and the Eddie “Lockjaw" Davis and Johnny Griffin ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Harry Allen / Scott Hamilton: ‘Round Midnight

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Johannes Brahms was called “the keeper of the flame" for Beethoven. Tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and Scott Hamilton are the same keepers for a tenor tradition that existed from the swing era through hard bop. The pair champions a sound and method established by Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Lester Young: a broad, dense tone, both confident and hesitant. Allen and Hamilton highlight a stylistic history that ended in 1956 when Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane recorded “Tenor Madness." This music is romantic, balladic and, when played up-tempo, swinging. 'Round Midnight is a predictable recording, which is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ehud Asherie with Harry Allen: Upper West Side

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Upper West Side is as fine a duet album as has been made by a pianist with another instrumentalist. This declaration may very possibly include the albums made by Hank Jones with Tommy Flanagan and Oscar Peterson with Dizzy Gillespie. It is a credit to pianist Ehud Asherie that he made this album at such a young age in comparison to the masters who have been mentioned in the same breath, perhaps with seeming blasphemy. However, considering Asherie's instrumental mastery, the superiority of his musical ideation, the often surprising turns of his improvisations, and--this is probably of paramount importance--his understanding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ehud Asherie with Harry Allen: Upper West Side

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Wherever tenor saxophonist Harry Allen shows up, there is sure to be a major outbreak of Old School. Along with Scott Hamilton, Allen is a keeper of the flame encompassing saxophone practice from Frankie Trumbauer to Lester Young. Pianist Ehud Asherie is cut from the same bolt as Ralph Sutton and Dick Hyman. His previous Posi-Tone recordings, Look Out (2007), Modern Life (2010), and Organic (2010) all demonstrate that Asherie is well-schooled in stride and modern keyboard styles, as well as Chitlin' Circuit greasy organ jazz.In combination with Allen, Asherie entertains his love of 1930s piano (Earl Hines, ...



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