Hilary Gardner/Ehud Asherie
The Late Set
By Allen Morrison | Published January 2018
Like a perfect soufflé, Hilary Gardner and Ehud Asherie’s delicate and tasty new album combines simple ingredients in a magical way: just a singer, a piano and a lovingly curated selection of songs from the Great American Songbook.
The Late Set conjures up a nostalgic vision, creating an intimate, after-hours vibe with a collection of songs by masters—Harry Warren and Al Dubin, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen and Jule Styne among them—that are by turns melancholy, romantic and rollicking.
Gardner, a classically trained singer who is also a member of the singing trio Duchess, is blessed with an exceptionally pure tone and a simplicity of expression that brings out the nuances of the great lyrics herein. In Asherie, she has the right person for the job: He’s a superb accompanist whose sensitivity provides ballast for an exploratory jazz spirit that finds expression in his solos.
Gardner and Asherie have worked together for 10 years, and it shows in the way she soars against his reliable, rock-solid groove. The album opens with two 1930s-era gems by Warren and Dubin that are rarely performed today, the romantic “Shadow Waltz” and the sexy “Sweet And Slow.” “After You’ve Gone,” from 1918, gives Asherie a chance to break into some convincing stride. Berlin’s “I Used To Be Color Blind” will be a revelation to those unfamiliar with it. Gardner is perky and salty on Rodgers and Hart’s “Everything I’ve Got” and sweetly nostalgic on “Seems Like Old Times.”
The Late Set is delightful, recalling a bygone, more genteel era of American popular song.
The Late Set: Shadow Waltz; Sweet And Slow; A Ship Without A Sail; After You’ve Gone; I Never Has Seen Snow; I Used To Be Color Blind; Everything I’ve Got; Make Someone Happy; Seems Like Old Times. (36:40)
Personnel: Hilary Gardner, voice; Ehud Asherie, piano.