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Harry Allen Quartet: A Little Touch of Harry

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Much lauded by jazz critics, 32-year-old tenor saxophonist Harry Allen is an example of perfection in motion on this collaboration with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Al Foster. Throughout the 12 standards, Allen shows plenty of versatility, passion, precision, and panache. Working with one of the best New York rhythm sections, the saxophonist maintains a honey-toned sound at any tempo, not unlike performances on 17 earlier recordings. Allen is broadly talented. He capably refreshes bop-ish numbers (“From This Moment On” and “I Never Knew”), medium-swingers (“Luck Be a Lady Tonight” and “Easy to Love”), and a samba (“It Might as Well Be Spring”). Best, though, are his burnished, breathy tender tenorisms on ballads such as “Nobody’s Heart,” “This Is All I Ask,” “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most,” and the finale, “I Get Along Without You Very Well.” Indeed, a little touch of Harry goes a long way. Factor in the skills of Barron, Mraz, and Foster, and you have a welcome addition to any album collection.