Harry Allen: I Didn't Know What Time It Was

Harry Allen was born around the time John Coltrane gave up playing changes. But you would never guess it from listening to this artist, who seems to have bypassed all the post-WW II developments in jazz, instead delivering sweet and swinging solos that sound as though they are channeled straight out of a bygone era. But sax playing this solid is timeless. Allen has it all: a rich, multifaceted tone, clear and forceful ideas, and unflagging rhythmic drive. Above all, he brings great patience to this track, never overplaying. There is a certain approach to swing that, if you capture it just right, actually intensifies the energy when you play fewer notes. Allen has got that groove here, and it's a joy to hear him coast along the chords of this Rodgers & Hart standard.

July 18, 2008 · 0 comments


Mark Levine: I Didn't Know What Time It Was

In recent years, Mark Levine has gained increasing renown as a jazz educator. His jazz piano method book is one of the most widely used works of its kind. But his success in teaching should not distract attention from Levine's skills as a performing pianist. This 1997 recording showcases Levine's talent in a solid trio setting. I especially like his harmonic sense, which invariably works some interesting reconfigurations of the old standards he tackles. But this track is also noteworthy for the pianist's percussive sense, which seems to take inspiration from the presence of Eddie Marshall. Wiitala is also featured in a fine solo.

June 01, 2008 · 0 comments


Brad Mehldau: I Didn't Know What Time It Was

You may not know what time it is either. But count along, you will pick up the 5/4 groove—very nicely played by the Mehldau trio. A punning reference to the name of the song, perhaps? And while we're talking about names: how daring to call your recording the "art of the trio"! — especially for a 26-year-old performer still at an early stage of his career as combo leader. But the Mehldau-Grenadier-Rossy triumvirate lives up to the claims of the name. This trio would continue to expand its musical vocabulary over the next several years, but even in 1996 it demanded respect as one of the finest bands in jazz. All the right ingredients are here: precociously smart but also swinging and emotionally aware. Highly recommended.

November 03, 2007 · 0 comments


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