Ehud Asherie is one of the rare, chameleon-like pianists who is versatile enough to play a wide range of jazz styles with authority. The young Israeli native (who grew up in the U.S.) doesn't merely copy the playing styles of famous pianists, but takes to their approaches and compositions in his own way. On his earlier CDs he mixed bop, swing, and standards with an occasional taste of stride, but for these solo piano sessions, he focuses more on stride and standards, all with a New York theme. Asherie's stride skills are showcased in the interpretation of James P. Johnson's lively "Harlem Strut" and Duke Ellington's "Drop Me Off in Harlem," adding embellishments to keep them fresh. He explores themes from musicals and film, including the rarely heard "Lovers in New York" (a Henry Mancini gem) recast as an easygoing bossa nova, and Leonard Bernstein's "Lonely Town," the latter played with a subtlety similar to Dick Hyman. Anyone expecting a typical rendition of "52nd Street Theme" will be in for a shock, as Asherie takes his time getting around to playing the familiar riff while he takes the listener on a musical journey through an intricately interwoven blend of stride, swing, and bop. The pianist's imaginative reworking of the bassline to the oft-played "Take the 'A' Train" is matched by the inventiveness of his right hand. Welcome to New York demonstrates that Ehud Asherie has truly arrived on the jazz scene.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden