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Jazz Reviews: Former PSO director Previn has 'Change of Heart'

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 2:11 a.m.
 

‘Change of Heart: The Songs of Andre Previn'

Andre Previn (Concord Jazz)

★★½

The name Andre Previn should mean something to Pittsburgh residents. He was director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra from 1976-84 and there was a TV show celebrating that relationship called “Previn and the Pittsburgh” that aired on PBS. He's well known for his symphonic work as well as endeavors in theater, opera and film. Previn also is known as an accomplished jazz pianist and it's that side of the artist featured on “Change of Heart.” Joined by vocalist Michael Feinstein and bassist David Finck, the songs here date back to the early 1960s. The sound is reminiscent of something one might hear in a small jazz club. It's a laid-back album, thanks largely to Feinstein's controlled singing. On the downside, it is stylistically a bit one dimensional but fans of Previn will no doubt enjoy it.

‘Jazz Life Forum'

Gerald Clayton (Concord Jazz)

★★★

It's hard to categorize this release by pianist Gerald Clayton. Lush, lively, somber and complex ... there are a host of adjectives to describe the tracks on “Jazz Life Forum.” Interesting horn arrangements featuring saxophonist Logan Richardson and Dayna Stephens and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and great vocal tracks from Gretchen Parlato and Sachal Vasandani expand the album's appeal. There's even some spoken word poetry by Carl Hancock Rux. Bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown keep the groove going for the whole album, Clayton's first on this label.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at eslagle@tribweb.com.

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