Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Dave Burrell: Harlem Rhapsody


Dave Burrell: Harlem Rhapsody


Sign in to view read count
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.


Album information

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


For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter 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.

You Can 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.



Open Me: A Higher Consciousness of Sound and...
Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
Modern Art Trio
Franco D'Andrea, Franco Tonani, Bruno Tommaso.
Chicken Shit Bingo
Brötzmann / Nilssen-Love


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.