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Album Review: Little Neighborhood
Michael Allen Harrison
Cover image of the album Little Neighborhood by Michael Allen Harrison
Little Neighborhood
Michael Allen Harrison
1995 / MAH Records
48 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Little Neighborhood is one of pianist/composer Michael Allen Harrison’s older recordings, but what a gem! Recorded for the benefit of The Robison Jewish Home in Portland, Oregon, the CD is comprised of Harrison’s arrangements of traditional Jewish songs and several originals. Most of the pieces have minimal orchestrations accompanying Harrison’s impeccable piano. Jewish music tends to have a haunting, melancholy quality that Harrison captures to full effect. Deeply emotional and soulful, this recording touches the heart and lifts the spirit. Some of the traditional songs that are included are “Sh’chuna K’tana,” a lovely piece about the little neighborhood; “Ose Shalom,” a gentle plea for peace in Israel and for all mankind; “Hi’ne Ma Tov,” a lively and rhythmic toast to brotherhood and unity; “Maoz Tzur,” the Jewish “Rock of Ages”; a gorgeous Wedding Medley”; and “Hatikvah,” a deeply emotional song of the two thousand-year hope to be a free nation in Zion. Harrison’s compositions include “Sivonne,” a “welcome to the world” to a little angel; “Ilse’,” written for a dear friend; and “Ema’ sh’li,” composed for the artist’s mother. The music on this recording is both specific in its ethnicity and universal in its message. I can’t imagine anyone not thoroughly enjoying this music. Little Neighborhood is available from mahrecords.com, cdbaby.com, and amazon.com. Highly recommended!
August 12, 2006