André Previn

Ballads

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André Previn has been a conductor, soundtrack composer, and arranger, as well as a solo pianist during his long career. This solo jazz piano session gave him an opportunity to improvise sketches of favorite standards from the Great American Songbook. He chose songs simply by grabbing sheet music and trying out a few quick impressions before quickly deciding to record it or move on to the next number. While most of the selections will be very familiar, he also included less frequently heard works. His richly textured setting of "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" is full of warmth. Rodgers & Hart's "Have You Met Miss Jones?" has long been a favorite of jazz pianists, but Previn plays it as part of a medley with another of their pieces, the lesser known "Nobody's Heart." His imaginative treatment of an overplayed chestnut like "My Melancholy Baby" adds a wonderful improvised introduction with a bluesy feeling. Previn's originals include the lyrical "In Our Little Boat" and "Dance of Life" (the latter co-written with Johnny Mercer); neither of them are especially well known, but they perfectly fit the mood of the session. This low-key but lovely CD is perfect for late-night listening with someone special.

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