20

Allan Harris & Takana Miyamoto: Allan Harris & Takana Miyamoto: Convergence

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Allan Harris & Takana Miyamoto

Convergence

Love Production Records

2012

A nostalgic trend that has gained traction in the last decade is that of bands (generally jam bands) performing "classic" rock albums live in their entirety, typically on Halloween or New Year's Eve. Some of the more notable examples of this include Phish's recent covers of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St. (Self Produced, 2009), Little Feat's Waiting for Columbus (Self Produced, 2010), and Gov't Mule's covers of Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy (Self Produced, 2008) and Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen (Live Downloads, 2012). Not to be outdone, the Allman Brothers Band reprised its own At Fillmore East on the 40th anniversary of its recording (Munckmix, 2011).

This baby-boomer nostalgic phenomenon proves not restricted to popular music. The past several years has seen several notable jazz recordings honored by younger artists, including Karrin Allyson's Ballads: Remembering John Coltrane (Concord, 2001), Phil Woods' Groovin' to Marty Paich (Jazzed Media, 2005) and Bill Cunliff's Blues and the Abstract Truth, Take 2 (Resonance Records, 2008). These were all excellent recreations, extensions and homages to great recordings, carefully rendered with all the necessary attention to detail and improvisation.

Now pianist Takana Miyamoto and vocalist Allan Harris chose another great artifact to honor, that of the famous Bill Evans and Tony Bennett piano/vocal recordings made June 10-13, 1975 and eventually released as The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album (Fantasy, 1975) and Together Again (Improv, 1977). With the passage of time and the revisionist history experienced by Tony Bennett's reputation in the last 20 years, the social and artistic value of these recordings has skyrocketed into an almost mythic state...and properly so. Bennett represents the last of standards interpreters of the level of, well, there is only one, Frank Sinatra. Like Johnny Carson did with late night television, when Bennett goes to his great reward, he will take standards singing as we know it with him.

The same may be said of Bill Evans, whose impressionistic and introspective treatments became a school of jazz piano in themselves after his death in 1980. A true tone poet, Evans provided Bennett with a sensitive accompanist who was artistically equal in all ways. Today, these recordings are seen as two masters practicing their craft at a rarefied level. With that said, this corpus of music is ripe for reinterpretation in the guise of homage/reconsideration.

To be sure, Miyamoto is not Bill Evans and Harris is not Tony Bennett, as neither need be. Miyamoto is a much more deliberate and grounded pianist, more than capable but not interested in being merely imitative. Harris has a pleasant and durable voice devoid of most of the imperfections that would make him unique. While Harris is not satisfied to simply imitate Bennett, he can recall the veteran singer potently in his endings, as he does in the Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke ballad "But Beautiful," where Bennett's expansive coda is one of the hallmarks of his talent. Harris does the song proud, singing with a muscular compassion that recalls Bennett fondly. Miyamoto's playing is within the lines and lyrical, not quite conservative, but enough so to never lose or challenge the listener.

The same may be said for "My Foolish Heart" and "Young and Foolish," the fulcrum pieces on The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album. Delicate and expressive, Miyamoto sets these songs up for exceptional vocal treatments by Harris. The two relate empathically to produce this easily enjoyed recording inspired by a classic.

Tracks: My Foolish Heart; Days of Wine and Roses; But Beautiful; Waltz for Debby; You Don't Know What Love Is; Young and Foolish; The Touch of Your Lips; You Must Believe in Spring; Some Other Time; We'll Be Together Again.

Personnel: Allan Harris: vocals; Takana Miyamoto: piano.

Track Listing: My Foolish Heart; Days Of Wine And Roses; But Beautiful; Waltz For Debby; You Don't Know What Love Is; Young And Foolish; The Touch Of Your Lips; You Must Believe In Spring; Some Other Time; We'll Be Together Again.

Personnel: Allan Harris: vocals; Takana Miyamoto: piano.

Title: Allan Harris & Takana Miyamoto: Convergence | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Love Productions Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Love, Gloom, Cash, Love Extended Analysis Love, Gloom, Cash, Love
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Motel Shot: Expanded Edition Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017
Read Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe  Edition Extended Analysis Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 50th...
by Doug Collette
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Allan Holdsworth: The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!" Extended Analysis Allan Holdsworth: The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!
by John Kelman
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band" Extended Analysis Charlie Watts Meets the Danish Radio Big Band
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "The Doors' 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" Extended Analysis The Doors' 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon" Extended Analysis Way Down Inside: Songs of Willie Dixon
by Doug Collette
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Phish: St. Louis '93" Extended Analysis Phish: St. Louis '93
by Doug Collette
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Motel Shot: Expanded Edition" Extended Analysis Motel Shot: Expanded Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: July 16, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor