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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

Andre Previn
Live at the Jazz Standard
With David Finck
DECCA 013 220-2
Westwood Walk
Hi Blondie
My Funny Valentine
What is this Thing Called Love?
Come Sunday
Chelsea Bridge
Bye Bye Sky
Batter Up
Quiet Music/ New Valley
Oh, Lady Be Good
I Got Rhythm

Andre Previn – Piano
David Finck – Bass

A new jazz album from Andre Previn is always something to look forward to and this one recorded live at the Jazz Standard in New York is something really special. Previn must be the most accomplished musician of his era, he is a major classical composer and conductor, he has produced many memorable film scores and above all, he is a superb and exciting jazz pianist with great ideas and the technique to enable him to execute them.

The choice of music is also excellent, we live in an age where many jazz performers prefer to play their own compositions, or those of other band members and most of these are seriously inferior to the great jazz standards. Don’t get me wrong, of course there is a place for new compositions and on this album 5 out of 12 are new to most listeners, a good balance. The performers, who scorn the great standards in favour of material that no one has ever heard of, are not great friends of the jazz cause. Just listen to Previn on My Funny Valentine and I Got Rhythm, tunes we have all played hundreds of times, in his hands they are full of new music.

The standards on the album come from Ellington, Strayhorn, The Gershwins, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart etc demonstrating that Andre Previn also has great taste,

David Finck is a master Bass player who paid his dues in the Woody Herman Band; his support to the soloist is first class and his own solo work authoritative. I must confess to missing a drummer Shelley Manne was a sensation on the My Fair Lady album! I always wonder whether duo’s are an economic or an artistic decision, it is not so much the swing aspect, these guys have that in plenty, but the drummer also underlines the dynamics of the performance. (Or should do!)

What is a source of amazement to me, is that someone who has spent most of the last 40 years as one of the busiest composer /conductors in the world of classical music, can still make a jazz album that pins your ears back and leaves you wanting more! Genius is a word in too common use these days but Andre Previn must be close to it.

Don Mather

Don Mather is a saxophone player and Bandleader in Coventry






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