Here we are at Smalls again (Seventh Avenue South and West Tenth Street in New York City) for another Thursday night duet between gifted friends, eloquent and swinging.

“Manhattan,” Rodgers and Hart’s sweet valentine to this metropolis, always makes me think of Bobby Hackett and Lee Wiley; the duo reclaims it for themselves, with hints of Ben Webster and Teddy Wilson, a royal pair.  Listen to Ehud’s small homages to the lesser-known stride masters in his solo: a touch of Luckey Roberts’s “Moonlight Cocktail,” a passage of Cliff Jackson’s distinctive stride left hand.  And Harry’s tone and gliding phrasing are like a sonic caress:

Then, an old-time stride romp on Vincent Youmans’ exultant “Hallelujah!” — with Harry negotiating every turn so easily, after Ehud has dramatically explored the verse.  Ehud loves Fats Waller but isn’t a prisoner of the recordings; in fact, his single-note lines have all the snap of Bud Powell.  Flip was very pleased to be able to present two Ehuds — the real one and his mirror-image.  What riotous fun as the duet changes keys and the players trade ideas:

I don’t think I am being hyperbolic when I say that these two performances exemplify what jazz is all about: the melding of individual impulse and communal creativity (whether on a tender ballad or at top speed, trading phrases) — amazing for its emotions, intellect, and sheer technical athleticism.

4 responses to “HARRY ALLEN and EHUD ASHERIE, JAN. 29, 2009

  1. Red Colm O'Sullivan

    Oh man! This is so WONDERFUL. Keep ’em coming! (Writing from Ireland).

  2. Jazzlives – Midnight – thanks for a much welcomed cooled out end to a strenuous day. I heard and liked Harry a lot when he was first on the scene – and he’s only more so now. I don’t know Ehud but he’s a killer in the grand tradition. I can’t possibly write how it is as well as you do – but this adds to my reassurance that all is well in the land of Oobla-Dee after all…sam p

  3. Bill Gallagher

    See you in Sacramento, Harry – and I wish you could bring Ehud along with you.

  4. André Growald

    I love these guys ! Their pattern is so high they are hard to match !

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