Thursday, January 12, 2006

My new hero

"Heroes" from Nagel Heyer puts alto saxophonist and former Jazz Messenger Donald Harrison in a pianoless sax trio for eight songs with bass god Ron Carter and drumming force of nature Billy Cobham (plus three bonus tracks with a different set of partners) and it's a good example of why I like the format. You get to hear a lot from all three musicians and in this case you're glad you do.

Harrison reminds me of Lee Konitz on his compositions "Heroes" and "Blues for a New Millennium," which range between adventurous post bop and free. He sounds like a cross between Stan Getz and Archie Shepp (an interesting combination) on "My Funny Valentine," a version of a song I like a lot that's different from versions I've heard before. He and Carter do it as a duet and Carter's bass playing is a big part of what makes it unusual, and good.

It's on "One of a Kind" and "Double Trouble," also his compositions, that I think Harrison really puts his own sound on display, not as fast as Charlie Parker but quick, not as heavy as Johnny Hodges but by no means light, not as melodic as Benny Carter but harmonious overall, and with the inventiveness of a Jackie McLean. I think he's particularly inventive on the ballad "Candlelight" and Miles Davis' "Solar." An excellent disk from a guy I now want to hear more of.

2 comments:

Jennie Tonic said...

Speaking of "My Funny Valentine," do you know the version on the Arturo Sandoval "Trumpet Evolution" album? I like the album a lot, but when he sings . . . well, he sings "Don't change your hair for me," instead of "Don't change a hair for me," and it's annoying.

Greg Kline said...

I don't have the CD, but that's funny. I kind of think Arturo Sandoval would be better off sticking to trumpet playing.