Down Beat - p.724 stars out of 5
-- "[F]ull of fresh air and no retro self-consciousness....[With] a warm, reassuring vitality and long -- often very long -- fluid lines that glide with a majestic precision."
Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet: Harry Allen (tenor saxophone); Joel Forbes (bass guitar); Joe Cohn, Chuck Riggs.
Personnel: Joe Cohn (guitar); Chuck Riggs (drums).
Audio Mixer: Jim Czak.
Liner Note Author: Chip Deffaa.
Recording information: Nola Studios, New York, NY (08/28/2004/08/29/2004).
The first fact one needs to know about the Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet is that it is, as described in the liner notes, a "working band." This may sound like a negligible fact on Hey, Look Me Over, but it isn't. A number of famous combos in the history of jazz have only played together in the studio. Here, however, guitarist Cohn, tenor Allen, bassist Joel Forbes, and drummer Chuck Riggs have developed the synchronicity that only comes from performing together night after night. For Hey, Look Me Over, that equals an hour of lovely ensemble work highlighted by some well-wrought guitar and tenor workouts on a solid set list. The next thing one would want to know about the Harry Allen-Joe Cohn Quartet is that they play traditional mainstream jazz with such pizzazz that one would never mistake it for regurgitated classics. With two or three exceptions, this is an upbeat, happening set, with vibrant versions of Charlie Christian-Benny Goodman's "Seven Come Eleven" and the title cut. "Seven Come Eleven," in particular, is a six-minute free-for-all, with superb back-and-forth exchanges between Cohn and Allen played against Forbes' busy bassline and Riggs' frantic backbeat. Hey, Look Me Over is the kind of tuneful, well-executed album that makes the listener feel good. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.