Those names refer to the splendid young pianist Ehud Asherie, the inimitable tenor saxophonist Harry Allen. They were celebrating in a cozy corner of the Hotel Kitano’s bar last Thursday — celebrating the release of their new quartet CD, MODERN LIFE, for the Posi-Tone label. At the Kitano, they were joined by master timekeepers Chuck Riggs, drums; Clovis Nicolas, bass (Joel Forbes is on the CD but couldn’t make the party).
“Music speaks louder than words,” Charlie Parker told a rather befuddled Earl Wilson, and I will follow his direction. If these performances need explication, do let me know . . .
Ehud began with a composition of his own (also on the CD) — ONE FOR V. It’s based on the chords of OLD-FASHIONED LOVE (by James P. Johnson) — homage not only to James P., one of Ehud’s heroes, but also to the Swing / Bop habit of composing new lines over familiar chord changes:
Given the problems of urban mass transit, Ehud cleverly offered his own solution, THE TROLLEY SONG — which some will associate with Judy Garland, others with that New Jersey marvel, Donald Lambert:
Most people think of Bud Powell as the master of fleet keyboard lines — not as a composer of love songs, pledges of eternal devotion. Harry and Ehud make the most tender promises, musically, in Bud’s I’LL KEEP LOVING YOU:
Here’s a World War Two episode in popular culture, a song whose title I hope is irrelevant, GOTTA DO SOME WAR WORK (featured by the Cootie Williams band featuring the same young Bud Powell):
As a solo feature, Ehud honored one of the masters of the piano and popular song, Eubie Blake, with a lovely, varied reading of LOVE WILL FIND A WAY:
Here’s the pretty tune Teddy Wilson chose as the theme for his wonderful but short-lived 1940-1 big band, IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MEAN SO MUCH:
And, as a jaunty set-closer, Ehud called SOMEBODY LOVES ME:
We love the music of this quartet!