Donald Harrison: Real Life Stories (2002)
It's can be disconcerting reading the liner notes for albums of such well known jazz artists as Donald Harrison. The undertaking is characterized as something just short of the second coming, of the reincarnation of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane and everyone of note in between these two. The music is described as revolutionary, evolutionary, a prime mixture of modern approach to all sorts of musical genre such as contemporary, R & B, soul with jazz eventually being mentioned too often as an afterthought. Harrison - - who sticks with the alto sax on this set - - has been with us for quite a while having worked early in his career with Terence Blanchard during his two stints with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. Here he has pulled together a set of like minded modern, creative jazz players, with roots heavily cemented in the Bop tradition, for a session of hard blowing mixed with contemporary harmonies. Joined by such young lions as Eric Reed, who's becoming Nagel Heyer's house pianist (and they could hardly do better), for a session of Harrison and Reed originals, jazz standards and the time-honored Paul Desmond piece "Take Five". In the presentation of this material, musical conceptions abound and they are well executed by this well honed group. So liner notes, and others, can reach for the superlatives all they want in characterizing this music the way they like. The fact is that it is solid hard bop put on the table by top of the line jazz musicians with beneficial and entertaining results. Leave the rest of the stuff for the high brow, pretentious reviews in those other publications. Recommended.
Track Listing: Playa Haters; Real Life Stories; Swept from the Sea; Oleo; A Night in Tunisia; Strange Day; Take Five; I'm Barred; Keep the Faith
Personnel: Donald Harrison - Alto Sax; Christian Scott - Trombone; Eric Reed, Jonathan Lefcoski - Piano Vincente Archer - Bass; John Lamkin - Drums