Donald Harrison: The Chosen (2009)
Another example of pushing the tradition forward is "If I Were a Bell," Frank Loesser's song from the show Guys and Dolls, made famous by Miles Davis on Relaxin' with Miles (Prestige, 1954) and since then a jazz standard. The leader literally extends the tradition of this tune by playfully elongating the final measures of it (aka tagged). The extra measures get used in the improvisations, giving the soloistsHarrison and pianist Victor Gouldthat much more harmonic fuel for melodic surprise. Harrison is so inspired, he quotes Ellington's "Rockin' in Rhythm." "To Nola with Love" is a very slow, musical love letter.
Harrison is right in that lineage of saxophonists as testifiers: Stanley Turrentine, Gene Ammons, Cannonball Adderley, Lou Donaldson and Charlie Parker. Speaking of Bird, Harrison covers one of the legend's greatest performances from Bird with Strings (Tristar, 1994), "They Can't Take That Away from Me." Other highlights on this solid CD include Ellington's "Caravan," the title track and "Drum Line," which exhibits some deep groovin' between Harrison and The Old School Drum Line from New Orleans.
Track Listing: Mr PC; The Chosen; If I Were A Bell; Caravan; They Can't Take That Away From Me; To Nola With Love; The Right Touch; Urban Serengeti; Drum Line; I'm The Big Chief Of Congo Square.
Personnel: Donald Harrison: alto saxophone, Fender Rhodes, percussion; Victor Gould: piano; Max Moran: bass; Joseph Dyson Jr.: drums; Jesse McBride: piano; Conun Pappas: Fender Rhodes; The Old School Drum Line from New Orleans: drum line.
Record Label: nagel heyer records
Style: Modern Jazz