Available March 15, 2019 via Capri Records
“His time is impeccable, his left hand formidable, his touch nuanced.” – Ted Panken, DownBeat
“A passionate craftsman joyfully at ease with pre-swing idioms.” – The New Yorker
“Buoyant interpretations leap from fluid, Art Tatum-ish runs to shimmering, Bill Evans-like harmonies.” – The London Sunday Times
The jazz tradition still has plenty to offer for those gifted and receptive players enthralled with its timeless pleasures. On his new release, Wild Man Blues (March 15, 2019, Capri Records) the pianist Ehud Asherie dips into the ever fertile fields of early New Orleans jazz, swing, bebop, and the Great American Songbook, as well as a deep passion for the music of Brazil. Roping his influences together in high style, Asherie offers up his most cohesive and engaging project to date. With support from an A-list rhythm team of the bassist Peter Washington and the drummer Rodney Green, the historically aware pianist brings new life to tunes ranging from “Wild Man Blues,” “And Then She Stopped” and “Parker’s Mood” to “Oh, Lady Be Good,” “Autumn Nocturne” and “Na Baixa Do Sapateiro.”
Historically aware yet also thoroughly in-the-moment, Ehud Asherie integrates the venerable New York piano tradition – from Fats Waller and James P. Johnson to Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk – into his own inventive style. In that light, it’s little surprise to find him kicking the new album off with a spirited take on Louis Armstrong’s “Wild Man Blues”-a favorite of New Orleans trumpeter Red Allen-here skillfully refashioned for a whip smart piano trio. The mood appropriately changes by way of “Parker’s Mood,” the moving blues that the great bebop saxophonist Charlie Parker recorded in 1948. Again, Asherie and company brilliantly transform a piece associated with a horn player and make it a piano-based chef-d’oeuvre. “Flying Down to Rio,” a sly hint at Asherie’s ardor for the music and people of Brazil, joins the beautifully rendered ballad “Autumn Nocturne” and the slow grooving “Oh, Lady Be Good” as a triumvirate of classic songs from which Asherie’s virtuosic yet always deeply expressive playing-joined with the sympathetic work of his rhythm mates- quickly removes any residual dust.
The 1947 Charlie Parker milestone, “Chasin’ the Bird,” has its famed contrapuntal two-horn line expertly adapted for piano. Like such masters as Barry Harris, Asherie demonstrates an enviable ability to interpret bebop at a deliciously laid back pace. Asherie’s heartfelt interpretation of “Na Baixa Do Sapateiro”¬- from the pen of the celebrated composer Ary Barroso- confirms the leader’s affection for Brazilian culture. The album concludes with Dizzy Gillespie’s sprightly Latin-tinged 1966 gem, “And Then She Stopped” which provides yet more evidence that, in Washington and Green, Asherie has found picture-perfect bandmates who share his instrumental expertise and comfort with diverse material.
Acclaimed album releases under Ehud Asherie’s leadership have included Shuffle Along which reinterpreted the music of Eubie Blake, Organic, which finds Asherie on organ, andUpper West Side and Lower East Side, duet projects featuring the saxophonist Harry Allen. Asherie’s most recent trio recording was Music Makes Me.