75

Ehud Asherie with Harry Allen: Upper West Side

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Ehud Asherie with Harry Allen: Upper West Side The closing track on pianist Ehud Asherie's Modern Life (Posi-Tone, 2010), whether intentional or not, came to serve as musical foreshadowing for this album. Modern Life has Asherie leading a crack quartet through a program of largely lesser-performed gems by cream-of-the-crop composers like George Gershwin, Jerome Kern and Tadd Dameron, but when the album reaches its conclusion the rhythm section is relieved of its duties, while tenor saxophonist Harry Allen stays onboard for an emotionally riveting two-man take on Billy Strayhorn's "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing." Three months later, this pair would find itself in a Brooklyn recording studio, ready to make more duo magic with the music of Gershwin, Strayhorn and many others.

That music from that session, which would come to be called Upper West Side, sat on the shelves for two-and-a-half years, but it couldn't have been due to a lack of quality. This is Grade A jazz performed by two consummate, classy musicians with an intimate knowledge of this repertoire and each other's mannerisms. They casually work their way through the Frank Sinatra-associated "Learnin' The Blues," turning up the heat and grit as they go, deliver playful lines when they visit Brazil (Jayme Silva's "O Pato"), fly through "I Want To Be Happy," and converse via traded solos at various points throughout the album.

While Asherie has shown his (post) bop chops and organ abilities on other albums, he has built his reputation on his skills as a practitioner of the lost piano arts which are on display here. He's often a man out of time, performing in a style that one would sooner associate with the early twentieth century than now, but that's what makes him so special. Allen, who has his own throwback sound that occasionally touches on stylistic hallmarks of early masters like Ben Webster and Coleman Hawkins, is in a similar headspace and, though both men can hold their own in modern digs, it's a pleasure to hear two musicians of this caliber, willing to stop and take a look back.

While the pair finds success on every track, the emotional—and literal—centerpiece of the album comes with another Strayhorn-made musical scenario. Allen is Johnny Hodges to Asherie's Duke Ellington on "Passion Flower" and despite Allen playing a larger horn he still manages to capture the mood and spirit that surrounded the famous Ellington-associated altoist.

Viewed in its entirety, Upper West Side is a program of delightful duo music that doesn't try to win anybody over with outré ideals, surprise twists or forced displays of showmanship. Allen and Asherie simply play the music, and they do so with clarity, class and charm.


Track Listing: Learnin' The Blues; It Had To Be You; O Pato; Our Love Is Here To Stay; Have You Met Miss Jones?; Passion Flower; I Want To Be Happy; Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams; I'm In The Mood For Love; Love Will Find A Way; My Blue Heaven.

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

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey" CD/LP/Track Review Louisiana Soul Revival Featuring Doug Duffey
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Panola County Spirit" CD/LP/Track Review Panola County Spirit
by James Nadal
Published: March 4, 2016
Read "Pittsburgh" CD/LP/Track Review Pittsburgh
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 23, 2016
Read "American Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review American Tunes
by Mike Jacobs
Published: June 11, 2016
Read "One for Marian" CD/LP/Track Review One for Marian
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "Out On The Coast" CD/LP/Track Review Out On The Coast
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 17, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!