4

Ehud Asherie and Harry Allen: Lower East Side

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Ehud Asherie and Harry Allen: Lower East Side 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 feature the same mix of standards—some famous, some undeservedly less so—and the same stylish combination of tenor sax and piano. Why mess up a good thing, as they say.

The mood throughout Lower East Side is relaxed, inviting, friendly. Asherie and Allen form a democratic, unselfish, partnership: a duo that functions best through mutual encouragement and cooperation. Such an arrangement may lack the fire and excitement of more competitive pairings but it more than makes up for this with a surfeit of good humor and high quality musicianship.

Asherie's playing sparkles with a lightness of touch and an understated charm. He has a superb sense of rhythm—there's never a moment where the music misses drums or bass especially when his stride playing takes center stage on tunes like Rodgers' "Thou Swell." His confidence is clear, his strong left-hand rhythms matched by emphatic, percussive, right hand melody lines. Allen's soft, slightly breathy, sound gives every note he plays a tonal richness. He's eminently capable of adding a raw edge but he does so sparingly, which simply heightens the impact of this shift in tone when it does appear—his use of it on "Thou Swell" gives the tune a sexier vibe than usual.

Both men have a warmth to their playing, which heightens the emotional impact of the songs, whether they are upbeat and cheerful or a little more romantic; Allen's tenor on Leonard Bernstein's "Some Other Time" combines softness and warmth like a favorite blanket. The pair's delightful take on Fred Rose's "'Deed I Do" finds them both at their most assertive, driving the tune at a fast tempo that guarantees to drive away the blues.

Although Esherie gets top billing on Lower East Side the great joy of this record is to be found in the interplay between piano and saxophone, between two terrific players with a deep, yet still evolving, musical relationship. Esherie and Allen form one of the most talented and most rewarding partnerships on the contemporary jazz scene.

Track Listing: S'posin'; Hallelujah!; Portrait In Black And White; Hey There; Thou Swell; Some Other Time; Thanks A Million; 'Deed I Do; Loads Of Love; Always; When I Grow Too Old To Dream.

Personnel: Ehud Asherie: piano; Harry Allen: tenor saxophone.

Title: Lower East Side | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Open Book CD/LP/Track Review Open Book
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Stolen Moments CD/LP/Track Review Stolen Moments
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Sonder CD/LP/Track Review Sonder
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Putting Off Death CD/LP/Track Review Putting Off Death
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 17, 2017
Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Warsaw Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Warsaw Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Out 'N' In" CD/LP/Track Review Out 'N' In
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "Dreamsville" CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Il Dodicesimo Nano" CD/LP/Track Review Il Dodicesimo Nano
by Jim Olin
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "On The Radio: BBC Sessions 1971" CD/LP/Track Review On The Radio: BBC Sessions 1971
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 6, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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