Wherever tenor saxophonist Harry Allen
shows up, there is sure to be a major outbreak of Old School. Along with Scott Hamilton
, Allen is a keeper of the flame encompassing saxophone practice from Frankie Trumbauer
to Lester Young
. Pianist Ehud Asherie
is cut from the same bolt as Ralph Sutton
and Dick Hyman
. His previous Posi-Tone recordings, Look Out
(2007), Modern Life
(2010), and Organic
(2010) all demonstrate that Asherie is well-schooled in stride and modern keyboard styles, as well as Chitlin' Circuit greasy organ jazz.
In combination with Allen, Asherie entertains his love of 1930s piano (Earl Hines
, Teddy Wilson
) and the songbook of that era. Here are two jazz historians, choosing a period and performing a chamber duet on the best material that period has to offer. The Donaldson/White standard, "My Blue Heaven," is just antique enough to have that attractive and rich attic smell without being passé. Asherie's left hand is sure; his right: rolling thunder. He solos with perfect confidence, mixing things up with modern touches as he goes. Allen adopts a bit of a Ben Webster
rasp while skillfully demonstrating a style of saxophone playing from when tenor was king. Upper West Side
is two superb musicians having one very fine afternoon...