André Previn was just 16 years old when he recorded the earliest numbers on Previn at Sunset, but he was already a brilliant pianist and a busy arranger at the MGM studios. Most (but not quite all) of the recordings that he made for the Sunset and Monarch labels, among the earliest in his career, are here. A major swing stylist who had not yet been affected by bop, Previn is heard on some unaccompanied solos; in three different trios with such sidemen as guitarists Dave Barbour or Irving Ashby, bassists John Simmons, Eddie Safranski, or Red Callender, and drummer Lee Young; and a couple of jam tunes ("All the Things You Are" and "I Found a New Baby") with a sextet also either Buddy Childers or Howard McGhee on trumpet, altoist Willie Smith, and Vido Musso on tenor. The small group swing performances are quite enjoyable, and the teenage pianist easily keeps up with the other, more famous players.
This was André Previn's second album after his long, symphonically enforced absence from jazz, and it sounds noticeably more fluid and relaxed than his first. No longer apprehensive about dusting off his old skills, Previn is delightfully confident and breezy (dig his sly turns on "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "C Jam Blues"), taking some chances as he re-phrases and paraphrases a collection of revivified standards, mostly Harold Arlen and assorted Duke Ellington. Even if Previn, that noted wit, sometimes sounds as if he is kidding the pants off these old tunes, it's great to hear him having such a good time playing jazz again. Mundell Lowe is Previn's new guitar partner, and Ray Brown returns on bass; both are right at home in this refined brand of chamber jazz grooving.
This sparkling suite for violin and piano came into being when the composer had to adapt his incidental score for a production of Shakespeare's play to the impending absence of the chamber orchestral. The result is a brilliant piece for violin and piano, which the composer quickly released in a four-movement version. There are other recordings of the chamber orchestra suite in five-movements that duplicate only three of the movements of this version. Violinist Gil Shaham and pianist André Previn are ideal partners in this brilliant performance. The four movements allow Shaham to show four sides of his violinist's personality: He skips and plays in carefree fashion in the opening movement, indulges in the grotesquery and parody of the second, gets to play the romantic in the garden scene of the third movement, and dazzles with virtuosity in the final hornpipe. Previn's part is more than mere accompaniment; the piano often has a large part of the mood of the music and his contribution is, to use a word already employed here, ideal.
From the start of his intermittent side career as a jazz pianist, esteemed conductor and composer Andre Previn has shown more feeling for the form than most classical artists who cross over. Going beyond a recreational involvement in improvised music, he has deepened his playing since skimming stylistic surfaces on his bestselling My Fair Lady album of nearly 50 years ago. Now 78, he gives us what may be his most satisfying jazz recording in Alone: Ballads for Solo Piano. The solo format allows him to reflect his debt to piano masters including Art Tatum, Erroll Garner, and Bud Powell in ways his work with trios and combos hasn't, while showing off his super-refined lyrical touch with its sophisticated sense of color.
Mozart, who composed 21 piano concerti, can be regarded as the “inventor” of the popular piano concerto. Although J.S. Bach and his son had written numerous concerti for harpsichord or fortepiano and orchestra before him, Mozart’s enormous input to the genre is mostly due to his concerti being regarded as ‘popular music’ by his contemporaries: to be enjoyed and replaced quickly by newer works. For this series on four DVDs, the most influential, the most artistically challenging and the most popular piano concerti have been selected to be performed by the best Mozart interpreters of our time. The second volume features pianists André Previn, Zoltán Kocsis and Heidrun Holtmann performing the piano concerti Nos 1, 4, 23 and 24. The performances on this DVD were shot in highly attractive baroque venues – at the Teatro Scientifico del Bibiena in Mantua, in the Rittersaal of the Palais Waldstein in Prague and in the Grosse Galerie at Schloss Schönbrunn in Vienna – capturing the atmosphere of Mozart’s lifetime.
Successful as pianist, composer, and especially as conductor, André Previn has frequently bridged the gap between popular and so-called "serious" music, and in doing so broadened the horizons of both. Despite his deep roots in symphonic music, long before his eventual retreat from his jazz work, Previn had become something of a popularizer of jazz rather than a serious practitioner of the music. At his best, however, his music reflected a strong indigenous feel for the jazz idiom.