All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Andre Previn/David Finck: We Got It Good and That Ain't Bad


Sign in to view read count
Andre Previn - or more accurately, Sir Andre, given the knighthood bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth in 1996 - is one of the very few pianists who moves back and forth between jazz and classical music with ease. Others of note are Keith Jarrett and, to a lesser extent, Mel Powell. There has been considerable debate whether a classical musician can successfully make this transition given the restraints on improvisation in the classical genre. It depends, I suppose, on one's definition of "successful". Mr. Previn has certainly made some successful jazz records over the years. But this one is somewhat different in that it brings to Ellington's music the techniques which underpin a classical pianist. He also brings with him the "classical" jazz pianism of Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson. Thus, his interpretations on this album are replete with arpeggios and trills, complicated runs, discordant explorations in minor keys, shifting time signatures and more. It all makes for an interesting and challenging 73 minutes of music.

Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" is treated as if it were composed by Delius, elusive and flowing. On this piece, David Finck sustains the mood with quivering plucks of the bass. "Come Sunday" is given religious reading as if it were played following a dais thumping, fire and brimstone sermon leaving the congregation to ponder the minister's peroration in a peaceful atmosphere. "Squatty Roo" gets a decidedly jazzy treatment while "Serenade to Sweden" has a blusey feel about it, despite all the embellishments of Previn's fingers. Finck's solo bass on the latter is especially attention getting. "I Didn't Know about You" makes you want to slow dance. "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" is where Mr. Previn takes some risks shifting among major and minor keys and time signatures. It makes one sit up and listen as does the startling opening to "In a Mello Tone" which has an effect similar to the stentorian opening chords of Tchaikovsky's "First Piano Concerto".

It should be noted that while there is some risk in the playing, there was very little in the selection of the program. With a couple of exceptions, Mr. Previn stays with Duke's well-known classic standards. But the greatness of these compositions combined with the personal imprimatur Mr. Previn puts on them easily places this album into the recommended category.

Tracks:Take the "A" Train; Isfahan; I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good); Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me; Chelsea Bridge; Things Ain't What They Used to Be; In a Sentimental Mood; Squatty Roo; Come Sunday; Serenade to Sweden; I Didn't Know about You; In a Mello Tone; It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing

Track Listing:

Take The



Title: We Got It Good And That Ain't Bad | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Deutsche Grammophon


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Criss Cross CD/LP/Track Review
Criss Cross
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 22, 2018
Read So Far CD/LP/Track Review
So Far
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read "Live" CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 9, 2017
Read "Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 9, 2018
Read "Calvins Toboggan" CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Rediscovered Ellington" CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read "Silent Light" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "On Another Path" CD/LP/Track Review On Another Path
by Geannine Reid
Published: February 13, 2018