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Various Artists: A Great Night In Harlem

Jim Santella By

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Recorded September 24, 2001 at the Apollo Theater in New York, this 2-CD collection contains memorable interpretations of standards and plenty of straight-ahead fun. The veteran, all-star cast assembled for this live performance to benefit the Jazz Foundation of America , an institution devoted to aiding jazz artists in need. Their performance was donated. Contributions of this nature are, indeed, rare in society. However, among the jazz community, it’s not entirely unexpected. The camaraderie that exists within the jazz community has always been strong.

Kenny Barron and Regina Carter interpret “Don’t Explain.” Nnenna Freelon sings “If I Had You” with screeching Jon Faddis at her side. Both are at the peak of their careers. “Fanfare for Four Trumpets” displays incredible chops from Faddis, Jimmy Owens, Randy Brecker and Eddie Allen. The fanfare number is brief, but quite a charmer. Traditional blues, always a welcome portion of any program, appears through the heartfelt phrases expressed by Cassandra Wilson. Ray Bryant interprets “Con Alma” alone, Ahmad Jamal performs “Devil’s In My Den” with a quartet, and Tommy Flanagan’s trio provides “Sunset & The Mockingbird.” It’s a performance of historical proportions. Three tracks put together small ensembles that characterize the spontaneous nature of this music. It’s the kind of jam session found at festivals around the world – when artists who don’t work together routinely find themselves an opportunity to see what happens. It always creates sparks. Clark Terry and Phil Woods, for example, jam on “Wee” with Howard Johnson, Don Braden, Melvin Sparks and others. Fast and fluid, the ensemble reminds us of the tradition: how it all began and how it will continue.


Track Listing: Disc 1: No Greater Love; If I Had You; Devil's In My Den; Don't Explain; Roy Haynes Solo; Fan Fare For Four Trumpets. Disc 2: Sunset And The Mockingbird; Death Letter; Con Alma; We Have A Friend In Jesus; Everyday I Have The Blues; Wee (Total Time: 55:48).

Personnel: A Cast of Thousands.

Title: A Great Night In Harlem | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Concord Music Group


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