Donald Harrison & Quantum Leap
The Jazz Standard
New York City, New York
September 20, 2012
New Orleans-based saxophonist Donald Harrison kicked off the evening's first set with a shuffle-based groove, immediately starting with an improvised solo. The quintet, rounded out by pianist Zaccai Curtis
, bassist Max Moran
, drummer Joe Dyson
and electric guitarist Detroit Brooks
, sounded very tight, even though Brooks was not very audible at first. As the band members took their own individual moments, Harrison took over the congas. As the number came to a close, he explained that what the audience was listening to was a James Brown
song, and then proceeded to demonstrate how he blended Brown's soul backbeat with an Art Blakey
feel and some swing in order to come up with something completely new.
He followed that with a more traditional swing take on the George Gershwin
and Ira Gershwin
standard, "They Can't Take That Away From Me," traveling back the 1950s and smoky jazz clubs. The band swung hard, especially Brooks and Moran, who contributed extremely dexterous solos. The group returned to more adventurous material with "Young MJ," a funk-tinged original, written in memory of the late Michael Jackson
, that Harrison described as "funky but also jazz"with clear elements of Motown, but with a hard, jazz-steeped feel. The tune created a great environment for improvisation, and the band went into it wholeheartedly.
The band shifted gears completely and went back to material from Harrison's Quantum Leap
(Fomp, 2012) with the challenging title track and its shifting tempos. Harrison closed with the New Orleans classic "Iko Iko," which featured guest percussionist Roman Diaz
, who added a Caribbean flavor to the closing, which had the audience on its feet and singing along.
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles
for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today