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New York-based pianist Ehud Asherie swings hard on Modern Life, his third release for Posi-Tone Records. With the help of tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Chuck Riggs, the Israeli-born Asherie demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the piano jazz tradition.
Throughout this set of standards and riff-based Asherie originals, it doesn't take long to realize the sincerity in the pianists approach to uncompromising swing. In every aspect of his playingvoicing, phrasing, finesseAsherie convincingly harkens back to an era of stylists such as George Shearing and Oscar Peterson who could straddle the fence between swing and bebop. Perhaps most intriguing is the way Asherie handles a ballad like George Gershwin's "He Loves and She Loves" and Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower is a Lovesome Thing." Along with lush, lyrical solo lines, Asherie confidently fills up space with witty, at times sardonic, comping behind Allen's breathy tenor.
Allen, who has recorded in abundance as a leader, fits snuggly into Asherie's retrospective aesthetic. With buoyant phrasing, Allen delivers a never-ending weave of inspired, feel-good ideas. The saxophonist digs in extra hard on the disc's up-tempo selections, specifically Hank Jones' "Vignette" and Gershwin's "Soon."
With rock-solid walking lines and crisp cymbal work, Forbes and Riggs keep things cooking at a fervent simmer. The two effortlessly keep pace with Asherie and Allen to create a toe-tapping listening experience from beginning to end.
I've Told Every Little Star; Blues For George; The Trolley Song; He Loves And She Loves; Vignette; One For V; No Moon At All; Casbah; Soon; A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing.
Ehud Asherie: piano; Harry Allen: saxophone; Joel Forbes: bass; Chuck Riggs: drums.