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Harry Allen | For George, Cole and Duke

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Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Latin: Afro-Cuban Moods: Type: Improvisational
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For George, Cole and Duke

by Harry Allen

Mainstream jazz at it's very finest with tenor saxophonist Harry Allen and drummer/vibraphonist Chuck Redd, pianist Ahud Asherie and bassist/vocalist Nicki Parrott with a touch of Latin fire on three tracks from "Little Johnny" Rivero.
Genre: Jazz: Mainstream Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Always True to You in My Fashion
4:34 album only
clip
2. In a Mellow Tone
5:07 album only
clip
3. Happy Reunion
4:40 album only
clip
4. Silk Stockings
7:13 album only
clip
5. Purple Gazelle (Angelica)
4:24 album only
clip
6. How Long Has This Been Going On?
6:33 album only
clip
7. I Love You Samantha
6:08 album only
clip
8. Shall We Dance?
5:18 album only
clip
9. By Strauss
4:59 album only
clip
10. Love for Sale
6:02 album only
clip
11. They All Laughed
5:52 album only
clip
12. Who Cares?
6:10 album only
clip
13. Mood Indigo
3:14 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The Composers
George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an
American composer and pianist. His compositions spanned both popular and
classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his
best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924),
Concerto in F (1925) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera
Porgy and Bess (1935).
Gershwin studied piano under Charles Hambitzer and composition with
Rubin Goldmark and Henry Cowell. He began his career as a song plugger,
but soon started composing Broadway theatre works with his brother Ira
Gershwin and Buddy DeSylva. He moved to Paris to study with Nadia
Boulanger, where he began to compose An American in Paris. After returning
to New York City, he wrote Porgy and Bess with Ira and the author DuBose
Heyward. Initially a commercial failure, Porgy and Bess is now considered
one of the most important American operas of the twentieth century.
Gershwin moved to Hollywood and composed numerous film scores until
his death in 1937
Cole Albert Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964) was an American composer
and songwriter. Born to a wealthy family in Indiana, he defied the wishes of
his domineering grandfather and took up music as a profession. Classically trained,
he was drawn towards musical theatre. After a slow start, he began to achieve success
in the 1920s and by the 1930s he was one of the major songwriters for the
Broadway musical stage. Unlike many successful Broadway composers, Porter
wrote the lyrics as well as the music for his songs.
After a serious horseback riding accident in 1937, Porter was left disabled and in
constant pain, but he continued to work. His shows of the early 1940s did not contain
the lasting hits of his best work of the 1920s and 30s, but in 1948 he made a triumphant
comeback with his most successful musical, Kiss Me, Kate. It won the first
Tony Award for Best Musical.
Porter's other musicals include Fifty Million Frenchme; DuBarry Was a Lady;
Anything Goes; Can-Can and Silk Stockings. His numerous hit songs include "Night
and Day"; “I Get a Kick Out of You"; "Well, Did You Evah!"; "I've Got You Under
My Skin"; "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "You're the Top".
He also composed scores for films from the 1930s to the 1950s, including Born
to Dance (1936), which featured the song "You'd Be So Easy to Love"; Rosalie
(1937), which featured "In the Still of the Night"; High Society (1956), which included
"True Love"; and Les Girls (1957).
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was
an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He led his
orchestra from 1923 until his death, his career spanning over 50 years.
Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the
mid-1920s onward, and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances
at the Cotton Club. Though widely considered to have been a pivotal figure
in the history of jazz, Ellington himself referred his music to the more general
category of "American Music" rather than to a musical genre such as "jazz"
Gunther Schuller wrote in 1989: "Ellington composed incessantly to the
very last days of his life. Music was indeed his mistress; it was his total life and
his commitment to it was incomparable and unalterable. In jazz he was a giant
among giants. And in twentieth century music, he may yet one day be recognized
as one of the half-dozen greatest masters of our time."
Cole Albert Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964) was an American composer
and songwriter. Born to a wealthy family in Indiana, he defied the wishes of
his domineering grandfather and took up music as a profession. Classically trained,
he was drawn towards musical theatre. After a slow start, he began to achieve success
in the 1920s and by the 1930s he was one of the major songwriters for the
Broadway musical stage. Unlike many successful Broadway composers, Porter
wrote the lyrics as well as the music for his songs.
After a serious horseback riding accident in 1937, Porter was left disabled and in
constant pain, but he continued to work. His shows of the early 1940s did not contain
the lasting hits of his best work of the 1920s and 30s, but in 1948 he made a triumphant
comeback with his most successful musical, Kiss Me, Kate. It won the first
Tony Award for Best Musical.
Porter's other musicals include Fifty Million Frenchme; DuBarry Was a Lady;
Anything Goes; Can-Can and Silk Stockings. His numerous hit songs include "Night
and Day"; “I Get a Kick Out of You"; "Well, Did You Evah!"; "I've Got You Under
My Skin"; "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" and "You're the Top".
He also composed scores for films from the 1930s to the 1950s, including Born
to Dance (1936), which featured the song "You'd Be So Easy to Love"; Rosalie
(1937), which featured "In the Still of the Night"; High Society (1956), which included
"True Love"; and Les Girls (1957).
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was
an American composer, pianist and bandleader of jazz orchestras. He led his
orchestra from 1923 until his death, his career spanning over 50 years.
Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the
mid-1920s onward, and gained a national profile through his orchestra's appearances
at the Cotton Club. Though widely considered to have been a pivotal figure
in the history of jazz, Ellington himself referred his music to the more general
category of "American Music" rather than to a musical genre such as "jazz"
Gunther Schuller wrote in 1989: "Ellington composed incessantly to the
very last days of his life. Music was indeed his mistress; it was his total life and
his commitment to it was incomparable and unalterable. In jazz he was a giant
among giants. And in twentieth century music, he may yet one day be recognized
as one of the half-dozen greatest masters of our time."

The Cast of Characters
Harry Allen - Three of Harry's CDs have won Gold
Disc Awards from Japan's Swing Journal Magazine, and
his CD Tenors Anyone? won both the Gold Disc Award
and the New Star Award.
Harry has performed at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide,
frequently touring the United States, Europe and
Asia. He has performed with Rosemary Clooney, Ray
Brown, Hank Jones, Frank Wess, Flip Phillips, Scott
Hamilton, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Kenny Burrell, Herb
Ellis, John Pizzarelli, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gus Johnson, Jeff
Hamilton, Terry Gibbs, Warren Vache, and has recorded
with Tony Bennett, Johnny Mandel, Ray Brown, Tommy
Flanagan, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Kenny Barron, Dave McKenna, Dori Caymmi,
Larry Goldings, George Mraz, Jake Hanna, and Al Foster, among many others.

Ehude Asherie - Born in Israel in 1979, Asherie lived
in Italy for six years before his family moved to New
York. Though he began playing piano as a child, his passion
for jazz came later — with a Thelonious Monk cassette
tape—and his first visit to Smalls Jazz club in
Greenwich Village. Largely self-taught, or rather, “oldschooled,”
Asherie learned the ropes at Smalls, spending
the wee small hours of his early teens becoming a fixture
of the late-night jam sessions. Steeped in the jazz milieu,
absorbing the work of his contemporaries. Asherie views
jazz as a living art form, an organic thing: each standard tune open to a constant reinterpretation.
It is this philosophy that caught the attention of world-class saxophonist and
collaborator Harry Allen, who called Asherie “…modern yet traditional at the same
time…in the most wonderful way.” Asherie recently recorded a brilliant solo piano CD
of songs from the 1924 musical Shuffle Along for the Blue Heron label.

Nicki Parrott was born in Newcastle, Australia,
Nicki started her musical training at age four on the
piano, followed by flute and then switched to double
bass at the age of 15. She studied with various bassists,
including Ray Brown, John Clayton and Rufus Reid.
In June 2000, she began performing on Monday nights
at the Iridium Jazz Club with the legendary guitarist
and inventor, Les Paul. There, Nicki worked side-byside
with guitar greats ranging from Paul McCartney
to fellow Aussie, Tommy Emmanuel.
In 2007 and 2008, Nicki received back to back
honors for Swing Journal’s Best Jazz Vocal Album In
2010 her album Black Coffee (Venus) received Swing
Journal’s Gold Disc award.
Nicki has performed with such notable musicians
as Michel Legrand, Joe Wilder, Randy Brecker, Clark Terry, Jose Feliciano, Bucky
Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Patti Labelle & the New York Pops
Orchestra, Harry Allen, Warren Vache and Houston Person, to name a few.

Chuck Redd - The great drummer / vibraphonist
Chuck Redd began performing in 1980 and did so internationally
for the following two decades with numerous
jazz talents before recording his first album as a leader
in 1999.
He began touring the globe and recording when he
joined the Charlie Byrd Trio at the age of 21. He also
joined The Great Guitars (Barney Kessel, Byrd and
Herb Ellis). To his credit are 25 European tours and 6
tours of Japan, with the Barney Kessel Trio, Ken
Peplowski, Terry Gibbs and Conte Candoli.
Chuck was featured vibraphonist with the Mel Tormé All-Star Jazz Quintet from
1991 until 1996. He is featured on over 75 recordings. Releases include his Arbors
CDs, The Common Thread, Happy All The Time: Chuck Redd Remembers Barney
Kessel, and All This and Heaven Too, Chopin Jazz with Rossano Sportiello,
You’re My Everything with Dick Hyman and Jay Leonhart, and Can’t Take My
Eyes Off You with vocalist / bassist Nicki Parrot.

Little Johnny Rivero was born in New York City to
Puerto Rican parents. His credits include work with Bobby
Valentin, Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, Ruben Blades, Dave
Valentin, Tito Puente, Lucecita Benitez and numerous other
notable artists. He also performed with the RMM All-Stars
Band, directed by Sergio George, Bebo Valdes and David
Murray.
Little Johnny is currently co-leader of the Alfredo de la Fe
Orquestra, and travels the world with nine-time Grammy
winner, Latin music icon Eddie Palmieri.
Johnny's first solo effort, Pasos Gigantes, has been very
well-received by critics and fans alike. He wrote and produced
every song on the CD, showcasing his song writing,
arranging and playing talents.

Will Friedwald Said
“For George, Cole and Duke” is an appropriate title – much more so
than, say "Harry Allen plays George, Cole And Duke" or "The George, Cole
And Duke Songbook by Harry Allen." (It's also a better title than, "For George,
Duke And Cole," which would lead people to expect a tribute to the late smooth
jazz keyboardist George Duke.) Harry and his colleagues aren’t just playing the
music of George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and Cole Porter. No, they’re not
just taking the composers’ melodies and running with them (and certainly not
running away from the original intentions of the songwriters themselves),
they’re playing for them: honoring not just their music (and, indirectly, the
words to their songs) but to the spirit in which they were created.
Harry's playing throughout this album puts me in mind of Sinatra's oft-quoted
observation about Tony Bennett, that he sang everything the composer had in
mind and "maybe a little bit more." When contemporary jazzmen change up a
tune, it can be an exercise in musical exhibitionism - showing off their own
cleverness - to put an Irving Berlin song in 12/8 or to make a minor waltz out of
"It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" or something like that.
Sometimes these departures from tradition are enjoyable on various levels, but
often such "improvements" are really detractions, they take away from the song
rather than add to it.
But the way Harry and his collaborators interpret a song, it's a genuine
enhancement. This is especially clear on those certain songs in which the composers
probably never imagined would ever be heard as instrumentals, like the
Gershwin Brothers' "By Strauss" and, to a lesser extent, Cole Porter's "Always
True to You in My Fashion." In the age of Porter and the Gershwins, it was well
known that most songs would serve many different purposes. A typical show
tune in 1936 or 1946 would be sung on stage by a musical theater type like
Ethel Merman but also on the radio by Bing Crosby or Kate Smith or Dinah
Shore or Ella Fitzgerald and played for dancers by Guy Lombardo or Benny
Goodman – and they would all sound exactly right playing most Gershwin or
Porter songs. They were actually written as what 21st-century real estate agents
would call "multiple use" spaces, but there were certain songs that were preimagined
as character and comedy songs. "Always True to You in My Fashion"
was written for Lisa Kirk in Broadway's Kiss Me Kate (1948), and she delivered
it with such a perfect combination of sensuality and humor that it made a
star out of her (Ann Miller was a suitable stand-in for Kirk as Bianca in the
MGM movie version); whether sung by Kirk or Miller, the song was dependent
on saucy, witty lyrics and a beautiful pair of winking eyes (in Miller's case, legs
as well). Porter had a vivid imagination, and was comparatively liberal in his
acceptance of jazz treatments of his songs (at least, compared to Richard
Rodgers and Jerome Kern) but I don't think that even he could have imagined a
great tenor saxophonist like Harry putting it into swing time and kicking ass
with it. When Harry begins to play, we shout "Hooray!"
"By Strauss" is a Gershwin oddity, one that owes its existence and popularity
as much to director Vincente Minnelli as it does to the two Gershwins. In 1936,
Minnelli was present when Ira and George started fooling around with the idea
of a parody of a traditional Viennese waltz. The brothers didn't pursue it for
more than a few minutes, and certainly never thought of it as something that
could turn out to be an actual song. It would have gone no further than that,
except that Minnelli loved the idea of a Strauss parody and, some months later,
asked them to finish the song so that he could include it in a revue he was
doing, which would be titled The Show is On. (That production would turn out
to be the last Broadway show to feature a new George Gershwin song in the
composer's own lifetime.) The song was introduced by one Grace Barrie in that
short-lived revue (17 performances) and then was forgotten until Minnelli once
again exhumed it, this time for the classic 1951 musical An American in Paris.
It was only at that point that "By Strauss" became a familiar part of the
Gershwin canon, but even though it's been included on several Gershwin songbook
albums (most notably those of Ella Fitzgerald and Maureen McGovern)
it's not the sort of thing one hears at Birdland. (It's rare enough even at
Feinstein's.) Harry's treatment is ingenious: he opens with a contrapuntal passage
that leads us to expect a Dave Brubeck-like nutso time signature, so much so that we all breathe an audible sigh of relief when it settles into the Gershwin melody
in ¾. The idea of swinging in waltz time is a relatively recent invention; during the swing
era, jazzmen got as far away from waltz time as possible before the jazz waltz appeared
in a big way in the 1960s. Harry acts like swinging in ¾ is the most natural thing in the
world, he stacks riff upon riff, phrase upon phrase with a Strauss-ian lilt and a fluidity that
suggests the danube at high tide. (Actually the interaction between Harry and pianist
Ehud Asherie suggests the Brubeck-Desmond quartet, only not with one of their deviant
time signatures but on their deviously bopped-up treatments of such otherwise innocent
fare as "I'm in a Dancing Mood.")
"How Long Has This Been Going On?” is the major Gershwin ballad here, Nicki
Parrott, our steadfastly reliable bassist herewith vocalizing sans bass (and also drums),
sings it straight-ahead and clear, stepping out of the way of the words and letting them
speak for themselves. Contrastingly, Harry plays it with vocalized inflections – communicating
through his horn, he's every bit as much of a singer as she is. The listener doesn’t
miss the bass at all, thanks to Asherie’s strong left hand and beautiful Chopinesque solo.
"They All Laughed" starts as a ballad before it eases into romp tempo, thereby making
me wonder why more swing dance organizations don't book Harry and his quartet.
"Who Cares?" is an especially communal performance; Chuck Redd, here playing vibraphone,
shares the verse with Ehud for the first chorus before Harry enters, literally slamming
the refrain and the dance that follows, between all four of them, is quite the pas-dequatro.
"Silk Stockings" is the other Cole Porter rarity here; the title song from his 1955 musical
version of Ninotchka. It was sung on Broadway by leading man Don Ameche, and
heard instrumentally in the 1957 film of said show – but rarely since. (Believe it or not,
Perry Como did a "cover," as some people insist on saying, of the song in 1954 – it was
on the flip side, unbelievably, of "Home For the Holidays.") The lyrics, as Porter was
well aware, are almost a textbook definition of the word "fetish": "Silk stockings, I touch
them and I find the joys that remind me of you." Instrumentally, the song is slyly insidious.
Porter knew how to make minor keys sound almost unbearably sensual (he was in a
class with the most erotic moments of Ravel and Wagner as far as that goes), but "Silk
Stockings," in which Porter, taking a cue from the storyline, throws in some Russianstyle
harmonies, is in a class by itself. Harry and Co. give it more of a rhythmic drive
than heard in the show or the movie, which serves to further heighten its romantic attributes.
"Love For Sale" has always been one of Porter's most erotic songs (banned from the radio in its day); this is one of the three tracks featuring fiery guest percussionist
"Little Johnny" Rivero, who makes Chuck Redd’s Afro-Cuban arrangement
sound like whoever is selling love is parading her wares (I presume it's a she) by
dancing a mean mambo. Just as "Silk Stockings" makes me want to hear Harry
doing a full album of the music from Silk Stockings, " I Love You Samantha"
makes me yearn for his next project to be The Harry Allen Quartet plays Cole
Porter's High Society. (I can dream, can't I?) Porter songs than Sinatra. But I
digress.) Once again, Harry captures the precisely perfect attitude for the piece
– he's not just playing the tune, he's playing the song itself, the words and music,
the story, the everything.
Harry, Ehud, Nicki, and Chuck bring just as much sensitivity – as well as
sensuality – to the music of Duke Ellington. His music is a tricky thing to reinterpret,
since it was written for jazz musicians to play a certain way, you don't
normally find "In a Sentimental Mood" done as a mambo or a polka. Of the
four Ellington selections, two ("Mood Indigo" and " In A Mellow Tone") have
traditionally been considered all-time Ducal standards while the other two
("Happy Reunion" and "Purple Gazelle, "aka"Angelica") only started to become
more popular with musicians in the decades following Duke's death. Both of the
newer tunes have a strong tenor heritage: "Happy Reunion" was first widely
heard at Newport 1958 and was originally a lovely feature for tenor titan Paul
Gonsalves. Like his predecessor, Harry plays it less like a family reunion and
more with the warm sensuality of a happy reunion between two lovers. "Purple
Gazelle" was most famously featured by the even more titanic John Coltrane on
his classic album with Ellington; Harry latinizes it with the help of Little
Johnny, treating it as a kind of Afro-Bossa, which, with Chuck's vibes going
throughout, puts me strongly in mind of Stan Getz's classic collaboration with
Cal Tjader.
Both "Mood Indigo" and "In a Mellow Tone" are reinterpreted as vocal vehicles
for the rapturously romantic vocals of Nicki. "Mellow Tone" gets a solid
dance beat going, and, after the vocal, builds to a bass and drums excursion by
Nicki and Chuck; if you've ever doubted a drum solo can be delivered in a mellow
tone, here's all the proof you need. "Mood Indigo" is an excursion of a different
sort, a south of the border trip piloted by Little Johnny, who helps Harry
and company turn this most venerable of Ellington standards into a bolero.
All of which supports Harry Allen's mandate that the interpretations, even of the
most familiar songs imaginable, be fresh and original, yet not goofy and far out
and / or different just for the sake of being different. Whether he's trodding a
well-worn path or blazing a new trail, Harry Allen's music is more about being
good just for the sake of being good. Yeah baby!
W.F.

Will Friedwald (born 1961) is an American author and well-known music critic.
He has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Village
Voice, Newsday, The New York Observer, and The New York Sun, and for such
magazines as Entertainment Weekly, Oxford American, New York, Mojo, BBC
Music Magazine, Stereo Review, Fi (Delity), and others. His books include Jazz
Singing: America's Great Voices from Bessie Smith to Bebop and Beyond Sinatra!;
The Song is You: A Singer's Art; Stardust Melodies: the Biography of Twelve of
America's Most Popular Songs and Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: An
Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons, among others.

CEO Message
Blue Heron Records LLC is proud to have produced, through the generous,
unconditional support of many friends, this very first in a series of high
quality recordings of America’s musical treaure, jazz. It is our intent to create
and leave the planet a legacy, representative of the finest examples of jazz music
available.
The guiding principle behind this endeavor is “Artistic Integrity First,” our
label’s theme. When this concept is extended to the artists at a recording session,
the music they make becomes magic! Such was the case in New York,
March of 2014. The chemistry was absolutely incredible among players, engineer,
artistic cordinator, and producers. The sessions were amazing. You will
undoubtedly hear and feel the positive energy in this recording.
As CEO of Blue Heron Records LLC, I wish to extend a heartfelt thank you
to the following people who assisted in various ways in support of this project.
Without your generosity and love for the arts, the launch of the Blue Heron
record label would not have been possible. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Mark and Martha Murphy; Scott Edmunds; Agnes and Page Hite;
Bob and Jeanne Foskett; Father Bob Tally; Harry Allen; Ehud
Asherie; Nicki Parrott; Chuck Redd; “Little Johnny” Rivero;
Marty Sheller; Merryl Jaye; Derek Sivers; Michael Brorby; Erik
Unsworth; Carl Kallansrud; Juliana ? and Brother Ricky Malichi.

Coming soon: Ehud Asherie’s brilliant solo piano
interpretations of Blake and Sissle’s music from the 1921
Broadway musical, Shuffle Along.

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Reviews


to write a review

Juerg Sommer

A recommendation for the Swiss Sunday Newspaper "Schweiz am Sonntag"(June 21, 20
Harry Allens Entdeckungsreisen in das American Songbook
Ein ignoranter Narr, wer die überragende Bedeutung von Blues und Great American Songbook für die Jazzmusik kleinredet. Den Songbook-Ikonen George Gershwin, Cole Porter und Duke Ellington widmet der Tenorsaxophonist Harry Allen seine neue 13-teilige Tribut-CD. Die Kollektion enthält neben bekannten Songs einige erstmals gehobene Trouvaillen, dargereicht als hervorragend angerichteter Mainstreamjazz in der Nachfolge von Stan Getz, Zoot Sims und Al Cohn. Die wärmstens empfohlene CD wurde im Quartett und Quintett eingespielt mit u.a. der Bassistin/Vokalistin Nicki Parrott und dem jungen Pianostar Ehud Asherie.
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