The upper west side may well be the epi-center for jazz in the western world. Posi-Tone along with pianist Ehud Asherie and tenor saxophone legend Harry Allen have captured a delicious swing for the jazz purist. There is a vibrant, tight and incredibly sophisticated elegance that permeates this stellar recording.
From the opening tune “Learnin’ The Blues” there is the incredibly engaging Asherie putting his own stamp on a classic rather than just “phoning it in” with a passable knock off and the same goes for “Have You Met Miss Jones” and “I Want To Be Happy.” The incomparable Harry Allen plays from the soul, actually he finds his musical soul and then takes a hard left for a more Ben Webster meets Coleman Hawkins feel on the iconic Billy Strayhorn tune “Passion Flower.” “I’m In The Mood For Love” has this duo playing it straight with that smoke filled room ambient feel just before ”last call!” is promptly announced. As thoroughly engaging and captivating as the performance contained on Upper West Side is the pristine transfer of the ambiance that is required to push the level of authenticity of the performances to the next level. The card carrying jazz-pseudo intellectual may take issue with some arrangements, let them. To take a collection of larger than life standards and arrange them into a far more intimate and organic setting is a stroke of pure musical genius that Asherie and Allen pull off with a quiet and subtle elegance and flair that few if any other musicians could equal.
Upper West Side is one of those rare jazz treasures that is found while the listener is expecting something else entirely. As entertaining a release as Posi-Tone has put out to date.
Tracks: Learnin’ The Blues; It Had To Be You; O Pato; Our Love Is Here To Stay; Have You Met Miss Jones?; Passion Flower; I Want To Be Happy; Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams; I’m In The Mood For Love; Love Will Find A Way; My Blue Heaven.
Personnel: Ehud Asherie: piano; Harry Allen: saxophone.