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An 80th Birthday Celebration

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Album Review

Encompassing the career of a multi-talented musician who began as a teenager and has worked successfully as an arranger, film score composer, jazz pianist, classical composer, and conductor on his 80th birthday is a daunting task, especially when the idea is to somehow suggest all that on a single disc. This compilation really can only sample from André Previn's extensive discography, and it does so by starting with his conducting of Vaughan Williams' overture from The Wasps, following with his classical "Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra" in three movements featuring John Williams. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plays Previn's theme from The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse before the album switches gears to turn to Previn the jazz pianist, providing fast and fluid runs in the company of musicians like Ray Brown and Shelley Manne on pop standards including "Bye Bye Blackbird" and "A Foggy Day in London Town." Jazz musician Terrence Blanchard plays his trumpet in an excerpt from Previn's jazzy score for the 1960 film The Subterraneans, and the composer's later work is suggested by the final track, "Vocalese for Soprano, Cello and Piano," featuring Sylvia McNair and Yo-Yo Ma. It all makes for a varied collection that nevertheless only scratches the surface of the musical work Previn has done in several different forms dating back more than 60 years.


Born: 06 April 1929 in Berlin, Germany

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the most versatile musicians on the planet, André Previn has amassed considerable credentials as a jazz pianist, despite carving out separate lives first as a Hollywood arranger and composer, and then as a world-class classical conductor, pianist, and composer. Always fluid, melodic, and swinging, with elements of Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, and Horace Silver mixed with a faultless technique, Previn didn't change much over the decades but could always be counted upon for polished, reliable...
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An 80th Birthday Celebration, André Previn
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