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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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HARRY ALLEN-JOE COHN QUARTET

Stompin' the Blues

Arbors Jazz ARCD 19353

 

 

 



 

1. You're Driving Me Crazy
2. I'll Get By
3. Stompin' the Blues
4. My Old Flame
5. Don't Want To Have To
6. But I Will
7. I Only Have Eyes For You
8. I Would Do Anything For You
9. Medley: It Might As Well Be Spring/Spring Is Here
10. So There
 
Harry Allen - tenor sax
Joe Cohn - Guitar
John Allred - Trombone
Joel Forbes - Bass
Chuck Riggs _ Drums
Scott Hamilton - Tenor sax (tracks 1, 4, 8)
 

I am tempted to nickname Harry Allen "Mr Smooth". It is not that his music has anything to do with that dreaded genre, Smooth Jazz, but all Harry's playing has a smooth ease about it which can be very winning. On this new CD, he has augmented the quartet he co-leads with guitarist Joe Cohn by adding trombonist John Allred, plus fellow tenorist Scott Hamilton on three tracks.

The Allen/Cohn Quartet works very well together but the addition of John Allred gives new opportunities for variety of sound and structure. As Harry Allen says about Allred: "I love playing counterpoint with him" - and you can hear this interplay in Don't Want To Have To, which opens with semi-classical counterpoint before swinging into up-tempo four-four. The end of You're Driving Me Crazy contains a delightful piece of prearranged sax-trombone unison. And the two instruments harmonise together radiantly in But I Will, one of four originals which Harry Allen wrote for the session, departing from his usual practice of playing mostly jazz standards.

The complementary qualities of Allen and Allred are audible in the medley where John Allred plays It Might As Well Be Spring and Harry Allen follows immediately with Spring Is Here. Styles are harder to distinguish on the three tracks which put Harry Allen's tenor sax side-by-side with Scott Hamilton's, since they both play with similar smooth fluency - but the sleeve-note helpfully spells out who plays what on these tracks. And, having made a point of Harry Allen's smoothness, I should note that he plays with considerable punch in the closing original So There, where his resemblance to Stan Getz is perhaps most noticeable.

 

Joe Cohn (son of saxophonist Al Cohn) plays some fine solos, as well as comping supportively behind the rest of the musicians. The sleeve-note rightly refers to his "bell-like clarity".

This isn't an epoch-making album but it will give pleasure to anyone who appreciates good music, played with loving care.


Tony Augarde


 



 

 

 

 



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