APPENDIX: Fifteen Fundamental Recordings

André Previn at the Piano (RCA Victor, 1947)

Previn’s major-label debut: seriously stylish showing-off.

Let’s Get Away From It All (Decca, 1955)

Savior-faire is everywhere.

Shelly Manne & His Friends: Modern Jazz Interpretations of Songs from My Fair Lady (Contemporary, 1956)

An unexpected hit that changed the jazz-record business, the album remains eminently listenable, genially clever and virtuosic.

André Previn & Russ Freeman: Double Play! (Contemporary, 1957)

A pair of well-matched musicians playing musical pepper, and a good example of Previn’s improvisation-as-arranging.

André Previn & His Pals: West Side Story (Contemporary, 1960)

The best of the jazz-interpretations-of-Broadway albums. Previn’s ability to epitomize various styles is put to entertaining, often unexpected use.

André Previn and His Trio: Like Previn! (Contemporary, 1960)

Previn’s first collection of his own tunes is also finds the Previn-Mitchell-Capp trio coming into its own as a performing unit. 

André Previn Plays Songs by Harold Arlen (Contemporary, 1961)

The most freewheeling of Previn’s solo piano albums. Previn gut-renovates the songs in ways that honor their spirit from endlessly surprising angles.

A Touch of Elegance: The Music of Duke Ellington (Columbia, 1961)

Substantive, swinging mood music that brings to the fore the sheer finesse of Ellington’s craft—and the sheer ease of Previn’s.

Doris Day and André Previn: Duet (Columbia, 1962) 

Pure, exquisite pop. Previn’s jazz capabilities stay in the background, but work behind-the-scenes magic.

André Previn and J. J. Johnson: Play Kurt Weill’s Mack the Knife and Bilbao-Song (Columbia, 1962)

The combination of the music’s Brechtian edge and a pair of temperamentally-aligned leaders yields an album of irresistibly trenchant wit.

André Previn / Herb Ellis / Shelly Manne / Ray Brown: 4 To Go! (Columbia, 1963)

A high-level summit of mainstream excellence, producing a fair share of offbeat moments.

Sound Stage! (Columbia, 1964)

Previn’s piano and John Williams’ big-band charts mix into a high-proof, delicious cocktail.

Leontyne Price and André Previn: Right as the Rain (Columbia, 1967) 

An uncommonly sublime diva’s holiday, buoyed by Previn’s unique set of crossover skills.

What Headphones? (Angel, 1993)

The loosest and quirkiest of the post-1989 recordings. An uneven but unreserved expression of Previn’s conviction that good (metaphorical and literal) neighbors make good music.

André Previn with David Finck: Live at the Jazz Standard (Decca, 2001)

All the threads of Previn’s late-period jazz—standards, surprises, proficiency, caprice—gathered and set forth with easy, unflappable command.

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