Shuffle Along

Ehud Asherie was a new name to me when I first heard him on a Ken Peplowski CD I recently reviewed (see “Enrapture,” In the Mix, March 24). On Shuffle Along, a tribute to the 1921 Broadway musical of the same name, the 36-year-old Israel-born pianist has chosen a challenging project: how to make the music from this Eubie Blake/Noble Sissle show relevant to audiences eight decades later. Short answer: play the hell out of it! Blake, who passed away in 1983, is most famous for having written the show’s biggest song, “I’m Just Wild About Harry.” There are two versions here; a romping rendition in 4/4 and a lovely waltz (its original meter). The eight songs Asherie’s chosen—nine if you count the second version of “Harry”—reveal his ability to make the music come alive. “Bandana Days” is a good example of his art. After a placid intro, he tears into it, deploying his high-speed stride piano style to excellent effect. Great music, great album, great googa-mooga!