Steve Allen's first few albums could have been called "Steve Plays," since they established him as a credible pianist. His 1956 album Let's Dance could have been called "Steve Swings," and his other album from that year is literally titled Steve Sings. Allen Plays Allen introduces the next thematic twist: "Steve Composes." The dozen instrumental pieces are arranged for solo piano with a small rhythm combo; all 12 were written by Allen, and most make their first appearance on this album. Allen had enjoyed a measure of success composing songs and music in the years before Allen Plays Allen, and later showed a flair for novelty material, but was known mostly for his comedy work on the television show Tonight. His comedic bent shows through on a couple of song titles, "What is a Freem?" and "Can I Wait Up for Santa Claus?," but Allen Plays Allen is a serious collection of melodies performed fluidly and competently by Allen with few eccentric touches.
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