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One classic album that features two soulful performances by Eddie Harris in a nightclub setting, A Tale of Two Cities represents the artist at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco in 1978 and at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase in Chicago in 1983. Joel Dorn has elected to debut Hyena with four 'live' memories, from Eddie Harris, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Les McCann, and Cannonball Adderley. Who could ask for anything more?
Harris works his tenor saxophone with a vocal-like enthusiasm for most of the album. His is a light, fluid, unmistakable tone. But it's what Harris does with the horn ' his hearty improvisation ' that makes the difference. A communicator who always looked around the room, made eye contact, and took it all in while he performed, Eddie Harris related to everyone in the house. His wizardry could knock you off the barstool. Whether blowing fast and furious a la Bird, or mellowing out with the emotional heartache presence of Billie Holiday, the saxophonist brought out the best jazz had to offer. His sprightly wordless vocals on 'Sonnymoon for Two,' in unison with his piano accompaniment, set up a remarkable solo that Harris performs on the trumpet with a saxophone mouthpiece. Thus, he adds Miles Davis parallels to his winning formula. The leader's electronic saxophone is added for a lengthy 'Illusionary Dreams,' on which he performs some of his best examples of soul jazz. This track includes over four minutes of Harris' conversational rapport with his audience. He emulates Billie Holiday overtly on 'Don't Let Me Go' by singing through the horn. Then, on 'Listen Here,' we get a taste of some of the saxophonist's most memorable music. Long recognized as one of those 'desert island' albums, A Tale of Two Cities has much to offer ' even for those who do not like jazz.
Track Listing: Chicago Serenade; Cherokee; Lover Man; Sonnymoon for Two; I Can?t Get
Started With You; Illusionary Dreams; Don?t Let Me Go; Listen Here.
Personnel: Eddie Harris- tenor saxophone, electric saxophone, piano, trumpet,
vocals; Rob Schneiderman, Jack Wilson- piano; Louis Spears, Herbie
Lewis- bass; Albert ?Tootie? Heath, Eddie Marshall- drums.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.