We Got It Good...And That Ain't Bad - An Ellington Songbook
Andre Previn slips so naturally from jazz to classical, from conducting to pianism and composing, that we begin to wonder why other musicians feel more constrained - so firmly confined within the limits of one style or activity. In fact, it needs a special range of abilities to accomplish such a variety of things. With such widely spread talents, there must be a lot of creative cross-fertilisation - the composer guiding the course of improvisation, the classical pianist's finesse of touch and phrasing animating the jazzman's spontaneous elaboration. Thankfully, this doesn't make Previn sound like a classical musician - whatever classical influences there are, they don't disturb the style.
One important theme of this collection is collaboration: the collaboration between Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, his long-time composing and arranging partner, as well as the one between Previn and Finck. I found it quite enthralling to hear the way, in In a mellow tone, for example, the two constantly take over each others' ideas in order to make something different out of them. Similarly, in Squatty Roo, Andre Previn comments on the motifs of David Finck's solo break, quietly adding something of his own while staying out of the limelight. Brilliant, creative playing, then, and wonderful tunes - it's an impressive addition to Previn's enormous discography.