|Harry Allen, Rebecca Kilgore|
The fine swing tenor Harry Allen had none of that uncertainty for his March 14 appearance in the Charlotte County Jazz Society's concert series. Allen brought his own New York-based band to Port Charlotte as part of a five-concert Florida tour. His ace rhythm section included the superb pianist Bill Cunliffe, bassist Joel Forbes and drummer Kevin Kanner. He also shared the spotlight with a special guest, Portland, Oregon-based singer Rebecca Kilgore.
|Joel Forbes, Bill Cunliffe|
Over his 30-year-plus career, Allen has developed into a first-tier player whose playing style blends fire, inventiveness and subtlety. Initially influenced by the sounds of onetime mentor Scott Hamilton, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Ben Webster, Allen has absorbed much from those tenor masters and others - distilling it into a very personal sound.
While Allen can hold his own in any style or context, he excels at interpreting the jazz ballad. He treated the Port Charlotte audience to stunning versions of Charles Trenet's gorgeous "I Wish You Love" and Albert Hague's "Young and Foolish." His uptempo skill was showcased on "Back Home in Indiana."
Cunliffe, an imaginative bandleader and arranger in his own right, was showcased in a formidable second-set feature. With subtle backing from just Forbes and Kanner, the pianist skillfully explored "The Way You Look Tonight." In his hands, its harmonic and melodic twists and turns added even more glitter to a night featuring many musical gems.
|Harry Allen, Rebecca Kilgore, Kevin Kanner, Bill Cunliffe, Joel Forbes|