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The Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet: Hey, Look Me Over

Harry Allen straddles the divide between the swing and Four Brothers traditions of tenor playing. On the blazing Charlie Christian-Benny Goodman tune “Seven Come Eleven,” Allen blows fiercely in the tradition of, say, Illinois Jacquet. But on the uptempo “With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair,” he evokes the likes of Stan Getz and Zoot Sims. And on Al Cohn’s Jobim-like “Danielle,” he sounds in places very much like Getz. In any event, Allen plays with propulsive swing, expansive invention and total control of his instrument and his material.

Guitarist Joe Cohn, the son of tenorist-composer Al, fits well with Allen, displaying a modern mainstream approach that also honors tradition. Indeed, the two of them think so much alike that they can create coherent improvised choruses by trading phrases, each building on what the other tosses his way. Such mutual understanding also allows for natural-sounding improvised counterpoint.

In addition to the tunes mentioned, the album includes two more by Al Cohn, one by Allen himself and standards by such composers as Jerome Kern, Jimmy Van Heusen, Jule Styne and Cy Coleman.

Bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Chuck Riggs round out this solid working band.

Originally Published