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...

8

Bruce Harris: Beginnings

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Many a debut album receives a largely positive critique before being cut down to size with a qualifier. It's simply a jazz journalist's nature to paint newcomers as nascent talent in need of seasoning, players showing signs of potential, or artists taking a good first step with a first record. But sometimes a debut album is simply a strong statement with no need for journalistic hedging. Such is the case with Beginnings.

If you haven't heard trumpeter Bruce Harris play, you're in for a treat. He's got his game together in every way, shape, and form. That's why he's been championed by Wynton Marsalis, occupied trumpet chairs in ghost bands bearing the names of Count Basie and Artie Shaw, mixed it up on stage with leaders as different as saxophone modernist Myron Walden and Cuban pianist Elio Villafranca, worked Broadway pits, and stood side by side with his mentor, trumpet heavy Jon Faddis. Harris is most certainly going places. But lest you think that's another one of those qualifiers, it need be noted that he's also already gone places, too.

The beginning of Beginnings paints Harris as a bopper, a mantle he seems perfectly happy to assume. His unaccompanied horn ushers in his own "Ask Questions," a charged thrill-ride of an opener with plenty of solo space to go around. An "Ill Wind" that's more a positive breeze follows, carried along by drummer Pete Van Nostrand 99's peppy, Vernell Fournier-influenced groove. Then it's on to Horace Silver's "Mr. Blakey," a nod to Buhaina that receives the dusting off it deserves here; over to a bossa-ballad zone for "Snowbound," flowing and beautifully reflective in scope; and off to "The Step," a bluesy original that sells itself by not overselling itself

Harris most certainly takes a tradition-minded approach with this one, but it's not pure old school. The presence of Prince's "Do U Lie?," reshaped as a buoyant jazz waltz, makes that clear. After that surprise, Harris brings it on home with Bud Powell's "Una Noche Con Francis," a song that greatly benefits from the presence of three of the five saxophonists that rotate in and out of this program—alto saxophonist Dmitry Baevsky, tenor saxophonist Andy Farber, and baritone saxophonist Frank Basile—and "So Near, So Far," a relaxed swinger of a send-off. This is a beauty of a record put together by a trumpeter with plenty to say.

Track Listing: Ask Questions; Ill Wind; Mr. Blakey; Snowbound; The Step; Do U Lie?; Una Noche Con Francis; So Near, So Far.

Personnel: Bruce Harris: trumpet; Dmitry Baevsky: alto saxophone (1, 7); Andy Farber: tenor saxophone (3, 5, 7, 8); Jerry Weldon: tenor saxophonist (2); Frank Basile: baritone saxophone (1, 3, 7); Grant Stewart: tenor saxophone (3, 5); Michael Weiss: piano; Clovis Nicholas: bass; Pete Van Nostrand: drums.

Title: Beginnings | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Posi-Tone Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Between the Silence CD/LP/Track Review
Between the Silence
by John Kelman
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Flying CD/LP/Track Review
Flying
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Barxeta II CD/LP/Track Review
Barxeta II
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Vidas Simples CD/LP/Track Review
Vidas Simples
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: August 19, 2018
Read Kinship CD/LP/Track Review
Kinship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Ask For Chaos CD/LP/Track Review
Ask For Chaos
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 18, 2018
Read "The Shakedown" CD/LP/Track Review The Shakedown
by Chris May
Published: May 2, 2018
Read "Float Upstream" CD/LP/Track Review Float Upstream
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 26, 2017
Read "Peaks of Light" CD/LP/Track Review Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read "Aladdin's Dream" CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read "Triple Double" CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by John Sharpe
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "Intention" CD/LP/Track Review Intention
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 10, 2018