André Previn

Sessions, Live

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This curious compilation is one of a series of LPs that was briefly available in the mid-'70s; as on most of these releases, there is generally little documentation except for the leaders' names and the dates that these live performances were recorded. Pianist Andre Previn is joined by bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Shelly Manne on the first side; they dash through "Ascot Gavotte" (from My Fair Lady) before moving on to a particularly bluesy arrangement of Oscar Pettiford's "Collard Greens and Black Eyed Peas" (also known as "Blues in the Closet"). Previn's take on "Stars Fell on Alabama" is dreamy, while the title of the neglected show tune "Zip" is taken literally as the trio plays it in an up-tempo bop setting. The Red Mitchell Quartet is heard on three numbers in early 1957; although his personnel is not listed, it seems likely that the musicians used for the taping of his debut record as a leader just a few weeks later (pianist Lorraine Geller, tenor saxophonist and flautist James Clay, and drummer Billy Higgins) are the same ones heard on this recording. Following a tasty version of "It's All Right With Me," Clay switches to flute for the ballad "I Thought About You," which also features strong solos by Geller and the leader. Clay's flute is the centerpiece of "Paul's Pal." Singer Toni Harper is heard on very brief interpretations of "Them There Eyes" and "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"; this rather obscure singer is has a nice voice but the arrangements leave a lot to be desired. This LP clocks in at less than 27 minutes, but there's enough good music within it to make it worth picking up if found at a bargain price.

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