This latest album from saxophonist Harry Allen is a perfect example of why composers such as George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington can still inspire a whole new generation of musicians.
For George, Cole and Duke is an album that is one of the most classy and sophisticated jazz albums that I have heard in recent months. From beginning to end, the performances are beautifully light and delicate making it an easy album to enjoy.
Album opener ‘Always true to you in my fashion’ might be a bit of a mouthful to try and say but it is a stylish, smooth and elegant way to start the album. It is a classic and uncomplicated track that really sums up the attitude of the album as a whole.
But it isn’t only the performances from the musicians that are worth listening to and enjoying. Vocalist Nicki Parrott also adds another layer to the music with her warm and heartfelt vocals on songs such as ‘In a Mellow Tone’ and ‘How Long Has This Been Going On?’ , giving both tracks more emotional depths than just the music itself.
While for the most part, the music is straight forward and traditional, Allen proves that it is possible to vary things up without losing the flow of the album such as on ‘Purple Gazelle’, which has a more exotic feel about it and is an interesting contrast to the rest of the album.
Meanwhile, ‘Shall We Dance’ and ‘By Strauss’ are both tracks that aren’t afraid to mix it up and be bold without losing the overall relaxed vibe of the album.
That is the key to the album: it can be enjoyed at your own pace and the performances which are so light and delicate mean that it is a bit of a shock when the album ends.The last track ‘Mood Indigo’ is appropriate as it is the most moody track on the album, as though everyone is reluctant for the album to end.