295

Alex Levin: New York Portraits

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Alex Levin: New York Portraits New York-based pianist Alex Levin borrows standards from the jazz-rich era of the 1940s,' 50s and '60s, and includes a couple of originals for New York Portraits, his third album as leader. Along with bassist Michael Bates (leader of the Outside Sources ensemble) and drummer Brian Floody, the trio lays down a relaxed shuffle of rhythm-based music, lending superb interpretations to some time-honored classics. Influenced by the music of Ahmad Jamal, who the pianist met while pursuing studies at The New School's Jazz Program, Levin pays also homage to pianists Bill Evans and Red Garland, among others, on this session.

Enchanted by its rich musical history and vibrant jazz scene, the city of New York provides the primary inspiration for Levin's music, the pianist explaining, "New York Portraits is like a big painting of New York." Like an artist with a vision, Levin serves up a palette of beautiful music; brush strokes to the canvas of a musical masterpiece. A gifted pianist, with crisp right-hand lines during brisker solo moments, Levin is neither a showy or selfish player, but is firm and commanding instead.

Levin's portrait begins with a mid-tempo rendition of the Rogers and Hart standard "My Heart Stood Still," followed by the album's highlight : Anthony Newly's staple, "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)." One of the most identifiable standards from The Great American Songbook is Irving Berlin's "Cheek To Cheek"; here, Levin's trio delivers it with such authoritative romp and swing that it's difficult to imagine Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers keeping up with the tempo. On the immortal "I Remember You," the trio settles into a tasteful groove, with Floody providing the steady drum beats with deliberate stick work, as the pianist paints the melody.

Bates introduces the melancholy "Last Train to Brooklyn," and provides the lead on this original soft ballad, while the other Levin chart, "Blues for Charley," reveals a touch of the Jamal influence. With the drummer on brushes and the pianist applying an equally light touch, the set closes with a warm and humbling version of that traditional jazz standard "Body and Soul," applying the final touches to a portrait of elegant light jazz.


Track Listing: My Heart Stood Still; Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me); Last Train to Brooklyn; Cheek to Cheek; I Remember You; I Love You Porgy; Isn't it a Pity?; Like Someone in Love; Blues for Charley; Body and Soul.

Personnel: Alex Levin: piano; Michael Bates: bass; Brian Floody: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Sus" CD/LP/Track Review Sus
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Sounds of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds of 3
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21" CD/LP/Track Review Duke Ellington's Treasury Shows - Vol. 21
by Chris Mosey
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "We Two" CD/LP/Track Review We Two
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 28, 2016
Read "Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow" CD/LP/Track Review Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Miguel Angelo Quarteto: A Vida de X" CD/LP/Track Review Miguel Angelo Quarteto: A Vida de X
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!