All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Zacc Harris: American Reverie

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Minneapolis-based guitarist/composer Zacc Harris is mainly represented as a player here, interpreting a wide variety of American songs in the company of double bassist Matt Peterson and drummer Lars-Erik Larson. The selection of material does cover some obvious Americana folk selections, but there are several surprising choices (and one original tune). The word "reverie" in the album title is appropriate, though, as all of the arrangements have a contemplative, sometimes daydream-like quality.

"Shenandoah" opens in familiar territory—a beautiful traditional tune that appears frequently on Americana albums. Harris' guitar sound is clean, and the tune is played chord-melody style. But even here the arrangement includes a new recurring chordal riff, and slight re-harmonization to bring the song into jazz territory a bit more. Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" opens with an unexpected bass riff (reminiscent of the "Mission: Impossible" theme), which is also used as an interlude between verses. Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" takes the set list out of the usual territory for the first time. The deliberate pacing renders the tune more like a recollection than the expected road anthem, and there's a bit of echo and processing on the guitar at the end which makes a ghostly effect.

But the 1964 Ronettes' hit "Be My Baby" (complete with Phil Specter writing credit) really takes things out of the comfort zone. It fits in surprisingly well, and the dramatic shift to a rock drumbeat like the original at the end feels right. Harris plays with listener expectations by not resolving the final chord sequence. Still waiting for that final chord, Zacc! "Take Me Out To the Ballgame" finds Harris on acoustic guitar, unaccompanied for the first chorus. The traditional song "In The Pines" uses over-driven guitar, even featuring a recurring rock riff—a nice contrast. Harris' original "Carousel" has a folk-like sound that allows it to blend with the rest of the program. Wilco's "Jesus, Etc.," and "Tennessee Waltz" are notable for the melody and solo contributions from Peterson's double bass (he also arranged "This Land Is Your Land" and "Tennessee Waltz").

This is not a flashy guitar trio, but the arrangements are full of fresh twists, all played with an understated warmth. Worth a second look by jazz guitar fans.

Track Listing: Shenandoah; This Land Is Your Land; Long Black Veil; On the Road Again; Be My Baby; Take Me Out To the Ballgame; In the Pines; Simple Twist of Fate; Carousel; Jesus, Etc.; Tennessee Waltz; Star Spangled Banner.

Personnel: Zacc Harris: guitars; Matt Peterson: bass; Lars-Erik Larson: drums.

Title: American Reverie | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Shifting Paradigm Records


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Lines In the Sand

Lines In the Sand

Zacc Harris
The Garden

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
American Reverie

American Reverie

Shifting Paradigm Records

The Garden

The Garden

Shifting Paradigm Records


Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Get Somethin'" CD/LP/Track Review Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read "Puerto de Buenos Aires 1933" CD/LP/Track Review Puerto de Buenos Aires 1933
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 15, 2018
Read "The Ferryman's Curse" CD/LP/Track Review The Ferryman's Curse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 3, 2018
Read "Festival 69" CD/LP/Track Review Festival 69
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 4, 2018
Read "Hawthorne" CD/LP/Track Review Hawthorne
by Don Phipps
Published: August 23, 2018
Read "Suzaku" CD/LP/Track Review Suzaku
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 15, 2018