Friday, November 13, 2009

Al Haig Plays the Music of Jerome Kern (1978)

Veteran bop survivor Al Haig plays four unaccompanied piano solos, has four duets with bassist Jamil Nasser, and backs singer and producer of this obscure album Helen Merrill on "They Didn't Believe Me." Although Jerome Kern did not care for jazz, his songs have long been viable vehicles for jazz improvisations, and Haig picked out some of the best ones for the date, including The Way You Look Tonight, All the Things You Are and The Song Is You.

Original LP cover

"...There is a curious sense of history revisited, or rewritten, in the release of this album by Al Haig. More than three decades ago, in 1947, Haig was a member of the large orchestra (woodwings, strings, French horns) conducted by Johnny Richards for a Dizzy Gillespie record session. The date was dedicated to Jerome Kern; in fact, two of the four songs recorded, The Way You Look Tonight and All the Things You Are are found in the present Haig collection.

As one of the first and most gifted pianists to become involved in the revolutionary new jazz of the period, Haig was in and out of the bebop scene for several years, working from time to time with big bands such as Charlie Barnet’s or Jimmy Dorsey’s, but also answering calls from Dizzy or Bird.

The present album finds Al in his element, provided with material from the long-prolific pen of Jerome Kern. Haig’s version of Yesterdays (introduced in a 1933 musical, Roberta) finds him in a reflective mood, with fills and ornamentations that are at times evocative of Art Tatum. It is interesting that even on the up tempo pieces such as I’m Old Fashioned, Al bears little resemblance to Bud Powell, who was generally accepted in his day as the pace-setting bebop pianists. The supple bass work on this and other tracks is by Jamil Nasser..." ~from the 1980 liner notes.

The Way You Look Tonight
Dearly Beloved
Can I Forget You
I'm Old Fashioned
All The Things You Are
The Song Is You
They Didn't Believe Me (Helen Merrill, vcl)
The Folks Who Live on The Hill

personnel: Al Haig (p), Jamil Nasser (b), Helen Merrill (vcl, producer)

rec Downtown Sound, NYC, 1978


Scoredaddy said...

this looks really nice. thanks. I love the songs of Jerome Kern

Valar said...

thank you :)

chazz said...

Great download.I have just about everything Haig ever did.He and all the Bird pianists (Duke Jordan and of course Bud-who said Haig was his favorite).Was glad it came with Cue inserted.Having hard time with FLAC mirrors and making them into tracks.

grumpy said...

Great share, many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Haig plays the meanest keyboards ever - and gives a lie to the fact that Kern claims he never took to jazz - like it or not Haig does show that Kern wrote jazz themes! Many thanks indeed for this rare and inspiring share

Roger (UK)

Anonymous said...

My New Years Resolution is to always thank someone for downloads. Thank you, that's great. Bop lives forever.

tommythomaso said...

Al Haig, Helen Merrill and Dearly Beloved all in the same outing: it's better than a triple play. Thanx, d3lta, for the treat. Can you get me tickets from SLC to New York? Coach would be fine; I'd even go cargo. said...

so where is the download link for these?

Anonymous said...


Andrew said...

thanks a lot :)