All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

110

The Three Sounds: Babe's Blues

Douglas Payne By

Sign in to view read count
Bravo for pianist Gene Harris, who seems to have recently and belatedly been discovered. After churning out dozens of fine records in the 1960s for Blue Note, Verve, Mercury and Limelight, then drowning in funk and disco records in the 1970s, he finally gave it all up and retired to Idaho. Bassist Ray Brown coaxed him back into playing in the mid 1980s and the two formed a terrific group that recorded frequently for the Concord label.

Since then, Harris has steadily been putting out a variety of first-rate discs with his own quartet, featuring the guitar handiwork of Ron Eschete. His latest on Concord, It's The Real Soul says it all. Like Joe Henderson, he's doing what he's always done best. It's just the rest of the world finally started paying attention. Babe's Blues is from the Three Sounds, the Harris trio that made many fine records from 1958 through about 1968. It's one of those treats that's been collecting dust in Blue Note's warehouse since it was recorded 8/31/61 (the same session that yielded the group's Hey There ). The title track — a classy Monk-blues crash typical of early Randy Weston (the song's composer) — was recorded 3/8/62, the same date which also provided tracks for the group's Black Orchid and Out of This World (both available on Japanese CD). Harris, aided by smooth, sympathetic bassist Andy Simpkins and subtle drummer Bill Dowdy, are in top form here, like a hip hotel lounge band with a wicked sense of the blues. Harris plumbs his specialty throughout, wresting the blues out of even the most mundane of tunes. The trio works the blues into well-worn standards like "Shiny Stockings," "Stairway to the Stars" and "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea," and gives the gospel good time to "Babe's Blues," Ernest Tubbs' (!) "Walking the Floor Over You" and Nat Adderley's "Work Song." Those who marveled at Ray Charles' country-and-western renditions a full year later would have been mightly pleased with how Harris and company twisted the jazz out of the country.


Title: Babe's Blues | Year Released: 1997 | Record Label: Blue Note Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Groovin' Hard: Live at the Penthouse 1964-1968

Groovin' Hard: Live...

Resonance Records
2016

buy
Standards

Standards

Blue Note Records
1998

buy
 

Babe's Blues

Blue Note Records
1997

buy

Related Articles

Read "Elvesang" CD/LP/Track Review Elvesang
by John Kelman
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Blued Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Blued Dharma
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: June 14, 2018
Read "Memory/Imagination" CD/LP/Track Review Memory/Imagination
by Jim Olin
Published: May 8, 2018
Read "Seldom in the Well" CD/LP/Track Review Seldom in the Well
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2018
Read "This City" CD/LP/Track Review This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read "Piano Images" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Images
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 12, 2018