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Dave Burrell: Harlem Rhapsody

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Dave Burrell: Harlem Rhapsody
It would be an error to characterize pianist Dave Burrell as a witness to history. Avant-garde jazz history that is. The octogenarian was heard in the 1960s groups of Marion Brown, Pharoah Sanders, Noah Howard, Archie Shepp, Sonny Sharrock, Sunny Murray, and Grachan Moncur III, while also exchanging ideas in New York with Albert Ayler, Sam Rivers, and Tony Williams. Burrell is not just a witness; he is the embodiment of jazz history. In the 1990s, together with David Murray, Burrell recorded a string of memorable albums. Like Murray, Burrell had (and has) one foot in the avant-garde while the other is firmly planted in tradition. While he can thrive in a totally free environment like saxophonist Ivo Perelman's Brass And Ivory Tales (Fundacja Słuchaj!, 2021), he also has covered the music of Jelly Roll Morton and Duke Ellington.

The genius of Burrell is his ability to anchor an outward or free performance of music in the language of traditional jazz. By the same token, his interpretation of an old-fashioned composition like "My Melancholy Baby," which he covers here, can be both played straight and deconstructed, only to be rebuilt as a kind of avant-thought experiment. Burrell's solo piano performance opens with the twenty-minute "Red Summer March," which is an amalgamation of genteel stride piano and abstract exploration. One might believe the two would be contradictory, but in Burrell's hands the tradition and the avant fits hand-in-glove. The episodic title track weaves elements of classical music into an epic Ellingtonian sound. His "Paradox Of Freedom" has a slow-motion boogie-woogie feel wrapped into a march. Burrell's music is avant-garde with a constant nod to the traditions of the jazz piano.

Track Listing

Red Summer March; How Little We Know; Paradox Of Freedom; My Melancholy Baby; Harlem Rhapsody; Dancing With Monika.

Personnel

Album information

Title: Harlem Rhapsody | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Parco Della Musica

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