All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

99

Allan Harris: The Songs of Strayhorn

By

Sign in to view read count
Vocalist Allan Harris has daringly chosen to record an album dedicated solely to the compositions of Billy Strayhorn. Daring because, first, lyrics to Strayhorn tunes can be difficult to successfully put across to the listener; second, because they are mainly about unrequited unfilled love and are hardly ever cheerful, and third, several lyrics on the play list are rarely heard so will be unrecognizable to everyone except the most committed Strayhorn devotees. It turns out that these are not daunting obstacles at all for Harris as this album offers an hours worth of Strayhorn done as well as one can hear. Harris' voice has a happy resemblance to that of Nat King Cole's, but with a modern bent. Happy because it means Harris is very good. He has the special way with the lyrics and with the same phrasing, timing and spacing that helped to Cole be one of the very best, ever. Some of the usual suspects on this CD include the incomparable "Lush Life" a tale of creeping dissolution done by Harris in medium tempo with some scatting both of which help to relieve some of the despair. He's back only by Ron Affif's guitar. Other familiar entries include "Just A - Sittin' and A - Rockin", "Something to Live for" and "Day Dream". On the infrequently heard side are lyrics to "My Little Brown Book". Liner notes writer Willard Jenkins quotes Harris as saying that this is the first time these lyrics have been recorded. But Al Hibbler and Gloria Lynne have recorded Strayhorn's masterpiece with words.

Harris gets strong help from his backing musicians. Eric Reed's on the mark piano and Don Braden's sax are particularly worthy of mention. Their work on "Daydream" is exceptional. It's obvious that Harris has more than mere respect for Strayhorn. Judging by the way he delivers on the material, it's outright adoration. Highly recommended.


Track Listing: Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin; Something To Live For; My Little Brown Book; Love Came; Chelsea Bridge; Lushlife; Daydream; Pretty Girl; Passion Flower; Oo (You Make Me Tingle); Your Love Has Faded; A Flower Is A Lovesomething; Lotus Blossom; Love Has Passed Me By Again. (Total Time: 57.13).

Personnel: Allan Harris: Vocals; Eric Reed: Piano; Don Braden: Saxophone; Cecil Brooks: Drums; Essiet Okon Essiet: Bass; Ron Affifl Guitar.

Title: The Songs of Strayhorn | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Coastal

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Fullmoon CD/LP/Track Review
Fullmoon
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Never Bet The Devil Your Head CD/LP/Track Review
Never Bet The Devil Your Head
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Arise! CD/LP/Track Review
Arise!
by Chris May
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Plus One CD/LP/Track Review
Plus One
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 24, 2018
Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read "A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark Sullivan
Published: July 4, 2017
Read "After The Rain" CD/LP/Track Review After The Rain
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "The Source" CD/LP/Track Review The Source
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Color Tones" CD/LP/Track Review Color Tones
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Both Sides Of The Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Both Sides Of The Sky
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 1, 2017