Ehud Asherie is one of a handful of brilliant young artists on the vibrant New York scene that simply does not get the recognition he deserves. Asherie has paired with tenor giant Harry Allen on more than one occasion and the results are consistently stunning. Modern Life is the straight ahead Back To The Future Of Jazz. While Asherie does contribute two stellar original compositions there is the expected standards for this impeccable 4tet. Instead of Asherie and Allen doing highly advanced covers of time tested if not well worn standards they do the opposite.
Asherie and Allen do their own riff on themselves and on a slightly eclectic selection of standards including “Soon” from George Gershwin and the iconic “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing” from perhaps one of the greatest composers being Billy Strayhorn. An elegance and style permeate this recording while a minimalist and almost rustic presentation is used to their advantage to allow their keen sense of melody and harmonic whimsy to shine. Rustic can become messy. Melodies can get mangled almost to the point of being unrecognizable but not here. Modern Life is a release also built around ebb and flow. There is a feng shui vibe to this recording, a balance of musical cohesion including the contributions of bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Chuck Riggs. Tradition is respected but the uniformity of swing without the prentious pitfalls of self indulgence and over playing show the classic piano jazz understanding simply elevated to a more modern showcase. Asherie takes on the Strayhorn tune as though he has played it his entire life. Harry Allen has one of the most compelling sounds of any tenor player since Ben Webster. Allen’s tender and emotionally charged solo on ”A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing” are simply masterclasses captured for posterity. The Asherie tune “Blues For George” is simply a standard waiting to be discovered and were it not for a working knowledge of the other tunes on the release you would be hard pressed to distinguish it from some of the killer numbers found here. With “Soon” Allen shows there is still plenty of gas left in the tank and digs deep for a groove other players could work thirty years for and still never find. The subtle nuances from Forbes and Riggs are essential to the success of this release. A true working band feel. Blue Note meets Impulse. Swing meets Bebop. Old school is indeed new cool.
Israeli-born Asherie delivers a throwback sound that embraces all that is good and right with both swing and bebop. An appreciation of tradition while pushing the music forward puts both Asherie and Modern Life as real winners!