Up is Down

I was subjected this morning to an NPR spot about André Previn’s new solo jazz piano album. Excerpts I heard were sensitively played, I guess – but it was the kind of lusterless, easy cocktail piano that our best student jazz pianists can doodle out when they’re not really thinking about it. Our jazz piano professor would play in that style only for satirical purposes. But André Previn is a famous musician, and of course famous musicians make only great music, and NPR can’t risk wasting its audience’s time with a musician no one’s heard of….


  1. Jonathan Mayhew says

    He’s been playing that pleasant but basically insipid cocktaily style of jazz piano for many, many years. The original “hook” was that he was a classical musician who was reasonably fluent in a jazz idiom. That doesn’t seem quite as striking today as it is might have been when jazz/classical crossovers still seemed fresh. Late 50s?

  2. Michael Wittmann says

    I understand the desire for REAL music to be on NPR, but when it comes to indie rock and such, they actually have pretty good taste. Hey, I even heard the Boredoms as their “between segments” music once, not that anyone knows who they are. And that’s my point.
    As to “classical”…. yeah, I’m with you.

  3. says

    A network they call NPR
    Aesthetically lowers the bar.
    What they say has pizzazz
    Is just old cocktail jazz.
    “So what?” they say, “Previn’s a star!”
    Well what is so bad about cocktails?
    We’ve all had our wee two o’clock tales.
    And is it correct
    From NPR to expect
    Much better than aesthetic mock tales?
    KG replies: John, you’ve outdone yourself. I am humbled.

  4. T.D. says

    Wow, I didn’t know Previn was still recording jazz albums. Last I heard, he had declared that jazz was no longer an important part of his life, or some such…
    Disclaimer: I own a remastered CD version of his old “My Fair Lady” trio recording, and it’s pretty good, though the Horace Silver and (especially) Oscar Peterson influences are rather strong.