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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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ANDRE PREVIN

My Fair Lady

Retrospective by Nimbus RTR 4122

 

 


1. Get Me To The Church On Time
2. On The Street Where You Live
3. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face
4. Wouldn't It Be Loverly?
5. Ascot Gavotte
6. Show Me.
7. With A Little Bit Of Luck
8. I Could Have Danced All Night
9. I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good
10. Take the "A" Train
11. Something To Live For
12. This Can't Be Love
13. Should I?
14. Hallelujah!
15. Just One Of Those Things
16. September In The Rain
17. Lullaby Of Broadway
18. Black And Blue
19. I've Got A Feeling I'm Falling
20. Honeysuckle Rose
21. Who's Sorry Now?

André Previn - Piano
Leroy Vinnegar - Bass (tracks 1-8)
Shelly Manne - Drums (tracks 1-8, 18-20)
Irving Ashby - Guitar (tracks 9, 10)
Red Callender - Bass (tracks 9, 10)
Al Viola - Guitar (tracks 12-15)
Chick Parnell - Bass (tracks 12-15)
Lloyd Pratt - Bass (tracks 12-17, 21)
Jackie Mills - Drums (tracks 12-15)
Ralph Collier - Drums (tracks 16, 17, 21)
Buddy Clark - Bass (tracks 18-20)

 

If anyone deserves the title of polymath, it is André Previn. He has been a composer, arranger, conductor and pianist, working in Hollywood studios as well as on television and in concert halls and jazz clubs. The British may know him best as "Mr Preview" from a TV show starring Morecambe & Wise, but he is also well-known for his many recordings - particularly his version of the songs from My Fair Lady. This 1956 album set a trend for jazz musicians to record interpretations of music from stage shows and films. In fact Previn arranged the music for the film version of My Fair Lady.

Jonathan Woolf reviewed a similar compilation on this site four years ago (http://www.musicweb-international.com/jazz/2007/Previn_CDAJA5656.htm), with only one track fewer, so perhaps I don't need to go into too many details - although I don't necessarily agree with all Jonathan's opinions. The My Fair Lady session, with Leroy Vinnegar on bass and Shelly Manne on drums, has been reissued numerous times but this is understandable, given its status as a classic. It starts with a bang, introduced by Previn's gentle piano and Leroy's bass but soon rising in a crescendo and a drum roll into a swinging improvisation. On The Street Where You Live is taken at a gentle, romantic pace, breaking briefly into double time, and I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face is similarly tender. Surprisingly but satisfyingly, With A Little Bit Of Luck is turned into a meditative ballad.

The remaining tracks on the album present Previn playing solo or with a trio or quartet. Despite the remastering, I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good sounds rather clangorous, and Hallelujah! seems boxy, although Previn's playing on the latter is very akin to Nat "King" Cole. Something To Live For is a seldom-heard Ellington composition that André revels in as a piano solo, with some stride patterns and Tatumesque runs. This Can't Be Love is also notable for its showy runs although, unlike Tatum, they don't disrupt the rhythm.

Every track exhibits Previn's clean fingering. His technique is impeccable, yet some tunes appear rather heartless, as the technique gets in the way of heartfelt expression. I have to agree with Jonathan Woolf's censure of Who's Sorry Now, where the soupy strings make Previn sound like a pianist in a cocktail bar. But generally his playing is a delight - and especially memorable in the My Fair Lady tracks.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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