Jazz that is fun.
Ric Harris has made a few changes to The Harris Group since last year. In his 2012 review, John Book hoped the “lineup will continue for awhile”, and the new CD, Errands, not only relies on two of them, vibraphonist Micah Rutschman and drummer Tom Haugen, but also adds a new bass player, Mason Cormie, who plays both electric and acoustic bass. The guests on this release, violinist Daniela Bisenius and flutist Jack Scott, help to define the tracks on which they appear. Finally, all of the compositions are originals by Harris that offer an aural picture of the world from places as far apart as the coast of South Carolina and the streets of Prague.
John M. Peters, believes The Harris Group “should appeal to non-jazz fans as much as it will to long term aficionados,” and this CD reaches that goal from two directions. First, all elements of the composition – the instruments chosen, the order in which they appear, the length of the solos, the interludes – define the music, not merely the improvisation. Second, a swing rhythm only defines two of the songs, while the other tracks vary from a waltz to blues to fusion to latin.
Melodies define the compositions of Ric Harris more than anything else. Whether it be the intensity of the title track or the relaxation found in a latin one, the songs stay with the listener through the melody more than anything else. As S. Victor Aaron stated last year in his review, the strength of Harris lies “in locating the goodness of a melody” through phrases that have an upbeat feel, and many of those things will be found this year on “Errands.”