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December 2001

Allan Harris
Love Came: The Songs of Strayhorn
Love Records

Countless singers have dipped into the Billy Strayhorn songbook and endless Strayhorn salutes have been produced. Is there any need for yet another Strayhorn collection? When the project in question is Allan Harris' Love Came (Love Productions LPR-102; 60:10), the answer is a resounding "yes." Critics often hear hints of Nat Cole in Harris' voice. I also detect a bit of Johnny Hartman and a dash of Danny Williams. All such influences work well in this unique and varied album. Several of the expected Strayhorn hits are here, including "Day Dream," a daringly different "Lush Life" and a delightfully ebullient "Something to Live For." What makes Love Came particularly enticing is that Harris has worked with Strayhorn biographer David Hajdu to unearth several rarities. "Oo! (You Make Me Tingle)," originally written for Lena Horne, is delivered with canny Bobby Short virtuosity, and the previously unrecorded "My Little Brown Book" sounds like a snappy rejoinder to "These Foolish Things." From the lively effervescence of "Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin'" to the a cappella lilt of "Love Has Passed Me By Again," Love Came is, to borrow from Strayhorn himself, "an adventurous dream."

Originally published in December 2001
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