Harold Arlen

Harold Arlen: Hooray For Love

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Hooray for Love attempts to do for the songs of Harold Arlen what George Gershwin did for his own music in the Gershwin Song-Book: transcribe and create variations on the songs for solo piano. In this case, the transcriptions are more successful on an individual basis than as a group the way they are programmed here. The disc starts out promisingly with a toe-tapping working together of Sleepin' Bee and Let's Fall in Love, and an arrangement of Stormy Weather that has unsettled harmonies to set off the mood. One for My Baby has a laid-back feel, just like Fred Astaire used in Top Hat, and That Old Black Magic and Over the Rainbow have a mystical quality that suits them. However, by this time, everything is starting to sound really similar: lazy, dreamy, piano bar lounge-like, particularly in the way many of the arrangements drift up the keyboard at the end. There is no sense of the train chugging along in Blues in the Night, but it is full of peacock feather flourishes. Even Hooray for Love isn't overly enthusiastic, just mildly upbeat. The final Get Happy is actually quite fun in its alternation of fantastic Romantic-era trappings and a variety of carefree jazz stylings from rag to boogie-woogie. Thrown in among the songs are a couple of pieces Arlen wrote specifically for piano: American Minuet and Rhythmic Moments. Unfortunately, despite Glazier's note telling of how Arlen carefully studied the form of the minuet, it still sounds like a waltz because of its oom-pah-pah bass line. Rhythmic Moments is much better, a rag with a trio section that hints at the Charleston. The overall appeal of the disc might also be improved by a warmer, more intimate sound. Glazier is a talented pianist who doesn't let his knowledge of traditional Classical music interfere with his instincts for jazz, but lets them work together, and in these arrangements he is sensitive not only to the music as written but also to the character of the songs and the arrangements. Hooray for Love just needs a livelier variety of arrangements.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:58 Amazon
2 1:57 Amazon
3 3:04 Amazon
4 4:54 Amazon
5 1:42 Amazon
6 2:16 Amazon
7 3:21 Amazon
8 4:32 Amazon
9 3:48 Amazon
10 2:07 Amazon
11 3:31 Amazon
12 2:02 Amazon
13 3:24 Amazon
14 1:35 Amazon
15 1:14 Amazon
16 3:49 Amazon
17 2:09 Amazon
18 4:49 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick