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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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ANDRÉ PREVIN

Four Classic Albums

Avid AMSC 1042

 

 


CD1
West Side Story
1. Something's Coming
2. Jet Song
3. Tonight
4. I Feel Pretty
5. Gee, Officer Krupke!
6. Cool
7. Maria
8. America

Collaboration
9. It's Delovely
10. Porterhouse
11. Heat Wave
12. 40º Below
13. You Stepped Out Of A Dream
14. Claudia
15. You Do Something To Me
16. Call For Cole
17. Everything I've Got
18. Some Antics
19. It Only Happens When I Dance With You
20. General Cluster

King Size
21. I'll Remember April

CD2
1. Much Too Late
2. You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To
3. It Could Happen To You
4. Low And Inside
5. I'm Beginning To See The Light

Pal Joey
6. I Could Write A Book
7. That Terrific Rainbow
8. Bewitched
9. Take Him
10. Zip
11. It's A Great Big Town
12. What Is A Man
13. I'm Talkin' With My Pal
14. Do It The Hard Way

André Previn - Piano
Red Mitchell - Bass (tracks I/1-8, 21, II/1-14)
Shelly Manne - Drums (tracks I/1-20, II/6-14)
Shorty Rogers - Trumpet (tracks I/9-20)
Milt Bernhart - Trombone (tracks I/9-20)
Bud Shank - Flute, alto sax (tracks I/9-20)
Bob Cooper - Tenor sax, oboe (tracks I/9-20)
Jimmy Giuffre - Baritone sax (tracks I/9-20)
Al Hendrickson - Guitar (tracks I/11, 13, 17, 19)
Joe Mondragon - Bass (tracks I/9-11, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20)
Curtis Counce - Bass (tracks I/12, 14, 18)
Jack Marshall - Guitar (tracks I/9, 10, 16, 20)
Frankie Capp - Drums (I/21, II/1-5)

 

After André Previn released his phenomenally successful My Fair Lady album in 1956, it was inevitable that he would try to repeat its success by recording more albums of music from shows or films. This double CD contains two such albums - West Side Story from 1959 and Pal Joey from 1957. The other two LPs in the compilation are Collaboration from 1954 and King Size! from 1958.

West Side Story not only follows in the dynamic path of My Fair Lady but it also conveys the brittle excitement of Leonard Bernstein's score. The vigour of Something's Coming presages something happening and it does, with stylish interpretations of eight songs from West Side Story, from a macho Jet Song via a laid-back Cool and a delicate Maria to a swaying America.

The next twelve tracks come from Collaboration, a fascinating album in which Previn and Shorty Rogers take it in turns to arrange three jazz standards each and then arrange original tunes based on the chords of the standards. I didn't realise this was the set-up until I started suspecting that track 10 was based on track 10 and track 12 on track 11! The personnel is a typical Shorty Rogers combination, with the likes of Bud Shank, Jimmy Giuffre and Shelly Manne. Shank and Cooper add interesting sounds with flute and oboe, used skilfully by the arrangers. André arrangements tend to be rather more adventurous in re-imagining the themes than Shorty's, but the exercise has intriguing results.

King Size! is a trio album which mixes spirited up-tempo numbers with ballads, The highlight is Much Too Late, a very slow blues which originally lasted 28 minutes when the Previn Trio played it in a late-night club. It Could Happen To You is another slow tune, handled with care by the trio. Throughout the album, Red Mitchell confirms his credentials as one of jazz's best bassists.

Pal Joey contains several unforgettable Rodgers & Hart songs (e.g. I Could Write A Book, Bewitched) but this recording reminds us of some lesser-known items. Take Him is a sprightly outing, while Zip is even more nimble, with a nice duet where Red Mitchell's bass solo is solidly backed by Shelly Manne's drums.

This whole collection illustrates that André Previn is not only a scintillating master of the keyboard but also capable of playing ballads or the blues with equal sensitivity.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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