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JAZZ : RETROSPECTIVE : In Brief

** 1/2 Andre Previn & Pals, “Pal Joey,” Contemporary. This was the third in a series of show-tune jazz albums by the team of Previn and drummer Shelly Manne--the first, “My Fair Lady,” was the No. 1 jazz LP of 1957. The Richard Rodgers tunes in “Pal Joey” yielded only two standards--"I Could Write a Book” and “Bewitched.” The other tunes, mostly unfamiliar, have little value as jazz vehicles, but Previn and Manne, with Red Mitchell on bass, do a capable job of upgrading them. Previn’s slow, easy take on “It’s a Great Big Town” reminds us that jazz was, and today still remains, more than a tongue-in-cheek sideline for him.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to five (a classic).


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