André Previn: I Feel Pretty

André Previn was among the first to record a jazz version of West Side Story songs, and his adaptation has a very West Coast tinge. No wonder, with such sidemen as Red Mitchell and Shelly Manne. The trio takes "I Feel Pretty" at a brisk tempo, exposing its melody in a fugue-like manner. The improv part has a more abstract aspect, with Previn in a percussive mood, shifting tempos, alternating chords and single lines. This creative approach reflects Previn's ability as an organizer of soundscapes, a talent that led to a long career as one of the world's premier symphony orchestra conductors. Indeed, the main goal here is not to play pretty but to build a whole new tune around the melody, harmonies and rhythm of Bernstein's tune.

June 24, 2008 · 0 comments


Bill Charlap: Ohio

After saying goodbye Columbus, hello New York in Broadway's Wonderful Town (1953), the youthful Sherwood sisters have second thoughts. Despite reminding themselves how bored and lonely they were back home, they still wonder why, oh why, oh did we leave Ohio? Here, Bill Charlap wistfully captures the ambivalence of simultaneous homesickness and sickness of home, evoking the melancholy that gradually succeeds a mad rush to the station, tossing luggage at full sprint to the redcap and boarding breathlessly at the last moment. Settling in your seat as the train pulls out, you wonder where, oh where, am I going? And why?

April 02, 2008 · 0 comments


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