152

Harry Allen: Love Songs Live!

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Harry Allen: Love Songs Live! Two words are about all that are needed to sum up the singular talents of swing–based tenor saxophonist Harry Allen — smooth and consistent, each of which aspect of his charismatic persona is abundantly present on this compilation of love songs recorded in concert between 1993 and ’96. I’m not fully conversant with Allen’s influences but Stan Getz had to be one of them (listen, for example, to Jobim’s “Once I Loved”). Others, he says, include Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins and Paul Gonsalves, pretty respectable models on which to pattern one’s style. Getz is most prominent in Allen’s sound, the others in his trenchant improvisations. While all of these ballads save one (Allen’s own composition, “Skyscraper”) have been around the block more than a few times, Allen simply shrugs that off and gives each one a warm and perceptive reading that seems to assert, “This is how I play; how you respond is up to you.” The album is taken from four sessions, three in Hamburg and one in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The settings are quartet (tracks 1, 2, 7) or quintet (3–6, 8–10). Allen’s is the only horn except on tracks 4, 8 and 10 where he shares the front line with the outstanding trumpeter Randy Sandke. The others in Allen’s supporting cast are superb, beginning with pianist John Bunch, bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Duffy Jackson (“But Beautiful,” “This Time the Dream’s on Me”) and including pianist Brian Dee, bassist Len Skeat and drummer Oliver Jackson (“Every Time We Say Goodbye”); guitarist Howard Alden, pianist Dave McKenna, bassist Frank Tate and drummer Butch Miles (“Once I Loved,” “Skyscraper,” “The Touch of Your Lips,” “O Grande Amor”); Sandke, Dee, Skeat and Oliver Jackson (“Sweet Lorraine,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Stardust”). No matter the framework, Allen is Allen, an eloquent young player who is never at a loss for an appropriate thought or phrase. He’s so charming, and so assured, that he can even construct a super–slow–motion version of Harold Arlen / Johnny Mercer’s “This Time the Dream’s on Me” and make it sound almost exciting. Be advised that everything else is unhurried as well, with excitement taking a back seat to beauty and shapeliness. And there’s no more beautiful way to close any album than with Hoagy Carmichael’s imperishable “Stardust.” A sumptuous soundtrack for those who are, have been or plan to be in love.

Contact:Nagel–Heyer Records, Rugenbarg 85, 22549 Hamburg, Germany. Web site, www.nagelheyer.com; e–mail info@nagelheyer.com


Track Listing: But Beautiful; Every Time We Say Goodbye; Once I Loved; Sweet Lorraine; Skyscraper; The Touch of Your Lips; This Time the Dream's on Me; Sophisticated Lady; O Grande Amor; Stardust,

Personnel: Harry Allen: tenor sax; Randy Sandke: trumpet; John Bunch: piano; Brian Dee: piano; Dave McKenna: piano; Dennis Irwin: bass; Len Skeat: bass; Frank Tate: bass; Duffy Jackson: drums; Butch Miles: drums; Oliver Jackson: drums; Howard Alden: guitar.

Title: Love Songs Live! | Year Released: 2001


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Pandora's Bag CD/LP/Track Review Pandora's Bag
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 25, 2017
Read Float The Edge CD/LP/Track Review Float The Edge
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 25, 2017
Read The Attic CD/LP/Track Review The Attic
by John Sharpe
Published: July 24, 2017
Read Outside The Comfort Zone CD/LP/Track Review Outside The Comfort Zone
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "The Day After" CD/LP/Track Review The Day After
by David A. Orthmann
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Vit" CD/LP/Track Review Vit
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 7, 2017
Read "Velcro Bird" CD/LP/Track Review Velcro Bird
by John Eyles
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Closer Than Before" CD/LP/Track Review Closer Than Before
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "avantNOIR" CD/LP/Track Review avantNOIR
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2017

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!