Album Remarks & Appraisals:
All About Jazz - Raul d'Gama Rose
Upper West Side is as fine a duet album as has been made by a pianist with another instrumentalist. This declaration may very possibly include the albums made by Hank Jones with Tommy Flanagan and Oscar Peterson with Dizzy Gillespie. It is a credit to pianist Ehud Asherie that he made this album at such a young age in comparison to the masters who have been mentioned in the same breath, perhaps with seeming blasphemy. However, considering Asherie's instrumental mastery, the superiority of his musical ideation, the often surprising turns of his improvisations, and - this is probably of paramount importance - his understanding of music history, he is qualified to be named with Jones and Peterson. And then there is the small matter of his duet partner: tenor saxophonist Harry Allen.
Allen has been spoken of in the same breath as Stan Getz, a musician who he resembles in his staggering sense of harmony and rhythm. There is another reason why Allen is so uniquely suited for a project like this: the tenor saxophonist is a very old soul - not a moldy fig, but a truly old soul. Few among the younger generation of tenor saxophonists - with the possible exception of JD Allen - have such a sweeping sense of the history of their instrument. Just like JD Allen channels John Coltrane, Harry Allen summons up the ghosts of Coleman Hawkins and Getz. There are eerie moments on "O Pato" when it seems as if Getz were playing in the shadows alongside Allen. Similarly, in the hauntingly beautiful "Passion Flower," Allen conjures up the spirit of Hawkins as powerfully as anyone could. Asherie does the same for Duke Ellington. ... read more...
Personnel: Ehud Asherie (piano).
Recording information: Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn (10/03/2009).