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Hooray For Love

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Album Review

At the end of August 2004, pianist Richard Glazier recorded an album of Harold Arlen melodies arranged in what he described as "both classical and jazz oriented" concert transcriptions. This chamber recital turned out as an excellent tribute and introduction to some of this composer's best songs, including a few pleasant surprises that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. "Rhythmic Moments for Piano Solo" [1928] sounds like early George Gershwin; Arlen composed his "American Minuet" [1939] for his wife Anya. The minuet, Glazier points out, was first developed during the 17th century; Arlen handles it with 20th century grace and charm, again moving across musical terrain traversed by his contemporary George Gershwin. Glazier collaborated with half-a-dozen individuals in the production of this album; Cy Walter is credited with having devised several "stylizations." Arrangements were drawn up by a team of specialists including Glazier himself, pianist Ed Shanaphy, composer and pianist Stephen Prutsman (who, Glazier says, combined stride with "19th century Romantic piano traditions and figurations"); by Tom Grant (identified as a smooth jazz artist), and by jazz pianist Joe Gilman. It is Gilman's arrangement of the medley "Sleepin' Bee/Let's Fall in Love" that best lives up to the phrase "classical and jazz"; Glazier pointedly lists George Shearing, George Gershwin, Fryderyk Chopin and J.S. Bach as sources of inspiration for the arrangement. The influence of Bach is especially striking here, as "Gilman brilliantly combines both melodies in a two-part invention." This ideal background music has its roots in American jazz, European classical, Broadway musicals and cinema. It is substantial and dignified yet lushly mannered and relaxed enough to qualify it for inclusion in the easy listening category as well.


Born: 15 February 1905 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

An American songwriting legend and son of a cantor, Harold Arlen was fascinated early in his life with the sound of ragtime. While singing in his father's synagogue he also played ragtime piano in local Buffalo bands and accompanied silent films. After arranging for the Buffalodians, Arlen moved to New York. His jobs included arranging for Fletcher Henderson and serving as a rehearsal pianist for radio and theater. A vamp he devised while practicing was later turned into the song "Get Happy," with...
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Hooray For Love, Harold Arlen
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