Michael Allen Harrison | A Tribute to Gershwin & Friends

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Jazz: Smooth Jazz Easy Listening: Musicals/Broadway Moods: Featuring Piano
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A Tribute to Gershwin & Friends

by Michael Allen Harrison

A relaxed, solo piano look at music during an era of simplicity and charm.
Genre: Jazz: Smooth Jazz
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Our Love is Here To Stay
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4:33 $0.99
2. Someone to Watch Over Me
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4:04 $0.99
3. God Bless the Child
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4:32 $0.99
4. Laura
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2:02 $0.99
5. Autumn Leaves
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2:54 $0.99
6. Summertime
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3:56 $0.99
7. You Do Something to Me
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3:11 $0.99
8. I Will Be With You
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3:23 $0.99
9. Bess, You Is My Woman
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5:09 $0.99
10. Swanee
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4:10 $0.99
11. He Loves She Loves
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3:57 $0.99
12. Never Alone
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3:52 $0.99
13. My Funny Valentine
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2:41 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
At once intensely personal and universal, the music of Michael Allen Harrison finds a place in our deepest emotions.

He reflects somber moments with the gentle touch in his heartfelt piano melodies. His fiery concerto movements match charged moments with magnificent bravado. His strikingly diverse musical styles meet us at high and low touch points that extend far beyond the seven octaves on his grand piano.

Recognized as Steinway Signature Artist, Michael has built a reputation as a prolific and stylistically multifaceted pianist, playing classical, new age/world, and contemporary jazz. In a career that has spanned over two decades, he has expanded his talents as a producer, composer, and arranger.

Michael released his inaugural album in 1986. Since then, he has released more than 40 albums showcasing his vast variety of performing and composing styles. He launched his own record company, MAH Records, in 1984; it is now a well-known label for other popular Northwest artists. To date, Michael has produced music for more than 200 musicians.

His songs have touched the sky and circled the earth, as they have been played on the space shuttles Endeavor and Discovery. He and his beloved Steinway have performed for President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Quincy Jones, Walter Cronkite, Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell and the Dalai Lama. Michael has also performed at the United Nations in New York City premiering his tribute song, Remembrance, for the 50th anniversary of Israel's independence in 1998. He also played at the World Peace Conference at The Hague, in the Netherlands in 1999.


Reviews


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Kathy Parsons

Wow!
Michael Allen Harrison’s “A Tribute to Gershwin and Friends” is by no means a new album, but it’s new to me, and what a killer! I had the opportunity to meet Harrison in Portland, OR last year and to see him play live. He’s one of a handful of pianists so extraordinarily gifted that he seems to be the most at home with the piano at his fingertips, making the most difficult passages look like child’s play. That doesn’t mean that this album is showy or full of bravado. The clarity of Harrison’s playing and the depth of emotion conveyed is head and shoulders above the majority of pianists out there (Michael Dulin and Philip Aaberg come to mind as players with this kind of pianism. Awesome, all three!!!) “Gershwin and Friends” is made up of thirteen compositions that harken back to a more innocent era when music was more relaxed and less competitive. Six of the songs were composed by George Gershwin, two are original Harrison pieces, and the others are standards that were composed at about the same time as the Gershwin pieces. Most are piano solos, but a few of the tracks include bass and/or guitar. For the most part, this is a quiet, soulful recording, but there are some upbeat and lively moments as well.

All of the tracks on this album are wonderful, but I have some favorites. The CD opens with a sultry “Our Love Is Here to Stay.” With just piano and acoustic bass, this is the perfect slow dance. “God Bless the Child” is dark and slinky in an easy, sensual style. Bass, electric guitar and very light percussion enhance the mood. Yum! “Autumn Leaves” has been one of my favorite songs since I was a kid, and Harrison’s arrangement does not disappoint. Flowing and elegant, the heartbreaking melody touches deep within. And then there’s “Summertime,” my all-time favorite Gershwin piece. Dark and bluesy for a couple of verses, the last minute or so is more uptempo and improvised - an incredible arrangement! “Swanee” begins in a ballad style that is dark and slow and develops into the melody most of us are familiar with in a whimsical, nostalgic style; it ends with a phrase from Stephen Foster’s “Old Folks At Home” - a cute touch! “My Funny Valentine,” another favorite standard of mine, closes the album with an enchanting love song full of easy grace and tenderness.

What a great album! Michael Allen Harrison has inspired me to pull out some of my Gershwin piano books and dust them off, but I can only dream of playing this music like him! Very highly recommended!