Serenity and stomp, two minds and hearts in beautiful harmony but also creating a third entity that wasn’t there before. I marvel at these great playful artists (who also happen to be supremely sweet human beings, which must contribute to the sweetness of their music). “Playful” means more than that simple word can convey: listen to the way Harry’s twisting lines and Rossano’s pearly notes and chords carry on a joyous conversational scamper, no matter what the tempo, how they glide from one key to another, how they deeply listen to each other and to the music itself.
I present to you Maestro Harry Allen on the tenor saxophone and Maestro Rossano Sportiello on the piano, recorded September 21, 2012, at Jazz at Chautauqua, where good things happen.
From Irving Berlin — by way of Ethel Merman, Ruby Braff, Mel Powell, Dave McKenna, and many others, this sly wooing — THE BEST THING FOR YOU (WOULD BE ME):
A deeply serene BLUE MOON turns the corner into a gamboling YOU’RE MY EVERYTHING. At thirteen minutes, this isn’t a demonstration of endurance; rather, I sense that Harry and Rossano are having so much fun that they can’t bear to stop playing:
EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO ME. I don’t think it’s true — or I hope not — but notice how Harry and Rossano put the slightest restorative bounce in this potentially maudlin song:
And they close with a high-energy exercise in jocularity, leaping over the moon in that sweet / naughty chestnut from GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, Marilyn Monroe’s A LITTLE GIRL FROM LITTLE ROCK:
Jazz Angels, both of them. And as an aside: when I am video-recording and I have space to do it, I keep careful notes in an old-fashioned grade-school notebook (I bought it at the dollar store) with YES and NO and checks and X’s and various comments to myself. If you had looked over my shoulder at Chautauqua, about three minutes into the first song I had written just this
and I stand by my critical assessment!
May your happiness increase.