This writer finally gets Strayhorn.
Tony Bennett considers Allan Harris to be his favorite vocalist. That is almost as profound as Frank Sinatra considering Tony Bennett his favorite vocalist. Mr. Bennett heaps no faint praise on Mr. Harris. Allan Harris is a very accomplished vocalist devoid of all of the barking and groaning afflicting many young singers in jazz today. I would liken Mr. Harris is a higher-range Johnny Hartman. He is very much in the hip crooner category. And for this release, Harris has chosen a perfect vehicle for himself: the Strayhorn songbook.
Harris has shined a beacon on Strayhorn through a bit of scholarship. He has uncovered some previously known Strayhorn pieces and has supplied lyrics to some familiar Strayhorn instrumentals. "Sittin' and A Rockin'" rocks, "Passion Flower" wails, "A Flower is a Lovesome Things" aches with a Latin beat. Eric Reed, the much sought after pianist, provides his support with a state of grace and personality. Don Braden's saxophone, particularly on "Day Dream." This is a most entertaining disc.
Personnel: Allan Harris: Vocals; Eric Reed: Piano; Don Braden: Saxophone; Cecil Brooks: Drums; Essiet Okon Essiet: Bass; Ron Affifl Guitar.