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Harry Allen Meets the John Pizzarelli Trio

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Album Review

After a decade on the scene, tenor-saxophonist Harry Allen, in 1995, was finally on the brink of being discovered, or at least recognized, by the greater jazz world. At that point in time, his tenor sound often recalled Stan Getz and Zoot Sims, but in a more swing-oriented setting. Teamed up with the John Pizzarelli Trio (with Pizz on guitar, pianist Ray Kennedy and bassist Martin Pizzarelli), Allen performs 11 vintage standards plus Bucky Pizzarelli's "Dot's Cheesecake" and his own "When Harry Met Martin" (which he co-wrote with Martin Pizzarelli). Among the highlights of this melodic and swinging set are "Pennies from Heaven," "Dear Old Stockholm," "I Want to Be Happy," "Sunday" and "Limehouse Blues." Easily recommended to mainstream swing collectors and an excellent example of Harry Allen's tenor playing.

Customer Reviews

Harry Allen is fantastic

I first ran across Harry Allen one Saturday evening listening to a PBS program of a concert he'd done in Rochester, New York. As I casually listened, I thought, "Man this guy can really, really play the sax!" Since then I've listened to Harry and found in him my favorite tenor sax player, bar none. His interpretive line and energy are fantastic. But unlike some of the quad-trillion jazz sax players out there who can belch out a few notes and then just camp out on one or two they happens to find significant, like on OCD crow on cocaine, this guy can play a jazz line and interpret it. His muical line just makes sense, beautiful, fresh, inspiring sense. He is simply musical and that is not an "automatic" in today's jazz scene. He can play sweet and tender. He can also bring a verve and joy to jazz that was intended from its very inception. Listen to "Pennies from Heaven" or "I Want to Be Happy." If you can do so and can refrain from tapping a stray toe, you'd better check your pulse. He plays the melody, he then can give you an interpretation of that melody and then launch into a coherent counter melody that's absolutely delightful. Whether soft and sweet "Dear Old Stockholm" or "Early Autumn" or driving hard and hot in "Limehouse Blues" you can't lose. John Pizzarelli's impeccable guitar work along with the remainder of Pizzarelli's superb group provides for a wonderful concoction. I'm glad they met. You will be too.


Born: October 12, 1966 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Fathers serious about seeing their sons one day becoming famous athletes begin developing their offspring's skills at a very young age. In the case of Harry Allen's father, who was a big-band drummer, he played jazz records each day for Harry before he went off to kindergarten. Starting off with accordion lessons, there was a fortuitous switch to saxophone later. Attending Rutgers University, Allen studied saxophone with Sahib Shihab, Bob Mintzer, and John Purcell. In 1989, he graduated from Rutgers...
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Harry Allen Meets the John Pizzarelli Trio, Harry Allen
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