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'Andre's Blues' and the Sounds of Contentment

Nobody laughed when he sat down to noodle. For two minutes and 21 seconds, Sir Andre Previn improvised in the studio and came up with "Andre's Blues," one of the cuts on Alone, his new solo piano album.

At the start of the song, Previn's 78-year-old fingers take off in a lighthearted reverie and then segue into the business of the blues, with funky grace notes and melancholy tremolos to give voice to his woes. A dime-store psychologist might note that the pianist-composer-conductor has had five different wives, including Mia Farrow and, most recently, classical violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, from whom he parted in 2006.

But "Andre's Blues" turns out to be more playful than painful. Previn can't resist adding lilting runs, and his final notes ring with contentment. Maybe that's because, despite the title of the CD, he's never really "alone" at the keyboard. Like all the songs on the CD, "Andre's Blues" is enlivened with homages to musicians he's admired and/or accompanied, from the virtuoso jazz great Art Tatum to no-nonsense swinger Frank Sinatra.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

This column originally ran on Aug. 21, 2007.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Marc Silver
Marc Silver, who edits NPR's global health blog, has been a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Jewish Times, U.S. News & World Report and National Geographic. He is the author of Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond and co-author, with his daughter, Maya Silver, of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice From Real-Life Teens. The NPR story he co-wrote with Rebecca Davis and Viola Kosome -- 'No Sex For Fish' — won a Sigma Delta Chi award for online reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.