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5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Vinyl
  • Label: Contemporary Records
  • ASIN: B005F0XUZW
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Format: Audio CD
In the far-off golden days of the 1950's, there was a series of albums by Shelly Manne and Andre Previn that featured jazz versions of songs from various Broadway shows. The first of these was "My Fair Lady" which was a surprise hit and was for many people, like me, the first jazz album they ever bought. It was an inspired combination - West Coast jazz stalwart Manne and the young Previn, then the boy wonder of the MGM music department. Manne may have provided the initial inspiration for the recordings, but it was Previn's heavily Art Tatum-influenced piano that made the series. "Gigi" was one of the best, possibly because Previn had just completed his assignment as musical director on the film. For this album, he was clearly in charge and, as a jazz pianist, he has seldom been better.
The lineup is the classic piano/drums/bass trio - anything else would be superfluous, especially since Previn's left hand frequently sounded like another instrument anyway. Occasionally, the tempo is a tad frenetic and you sometimes find yourself wishing that Shelly Manne had a slightly lighter touch. But these minor carps are soon forgotten as you listen to Previn's laidback breeziness on "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" or when he breathes out a ballad such as "Gigi" which is as seductive as it is beautiful. In fact, for me, the best tracks on any Previn jazz album were always the ballads. They are not only romantic in the extreme but reflect a time when both life and music seemed somehow simpler and almost innocent.
A great album if you're feeling nostalgic - or if you just enjoy a wonderful set of jazz.
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