311

Joel Harrison: Harrison on Harrison: Jazz Explorations of George Harrison

Jeff Stockton By

Sign in to view read count
Joel Harrison: Harrison on Harrison: Jazz Explorations of George Harrison You have every right to be suspicious of anything that claims to interpret the music of a Beatle. Like symphonic Stones, extra-genre covers of the Beatles are most often a mixture of reverence and awkwardness. I've choked down enough Breakfasts with the Beatles to last a lifetime. But on Harrison on Harrison, guitarist Joel Harrison (no relation) wisely doesn't limit his song choices only to George Harrison's Beatle years.

Half the songs come from George's solo efforts and emphasize his gentle melodies and rich source material, including British folk, skiffle, Indian ragas, and other worldly influences. And since it takes some nerve to tackle classic rock icons like "Here Comes the Sun and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps, it doesn't hurt that Harrison has some powerhouse friends in action, including altoist David Binney, pianist Uri Caine, and saxophonist Dave Liebman.

"Sun is tense and aggressive, with only the barest similarity to the original as Liebman sharply bleats the lyrics on soprano. "Weeps is given a slowed-down, rolling beat and Liebman's rough-and-tumble tenor wrestles the track away from Harrison's guitar. Liebman elevates the quality of anything he plays on, and his arrangement of "Within You Without You (from Sgt. Pepper's) begins with a wood flute prelude, substitutes Stephan Crump's bass for tabla, and inserts guitar in place of sitar.

The farther these arrangements part from their familiar melodies, the more they gain in interest, and "Love You To pulses with Pat Metheny Group-style bass and shimmering cymbals. Guest vocalist Jen Chapin delivers a moving version of "All Things Must Pass that Binney uses as a launching pad for a solo that mounts in exhilarating intensity. Usually Joel Harrison distinguishes himself as a talented arranger and judicious soloist. For instance, his playing on "Beware of Darkness is his purest lead guitar on the recording, leaving the beauty of the original melody starkly in the foreground. But while Joel Harrison's National Steel resonates, even Robert Johnson himself with a slide couldn't overcome "My Sweet Lord.

Track Listing: Here Comes the Sun; Within You Without You; While My Guitar Gently Weeps; The Art of Dying; My Father's House; All Things Must Pass; Taxman; My Sweet Lord; Love to You; Beware of Darkness; Isn't It a Pity.

Personnel: Joel Harrison: electric, National Steel and fretless guitars, voice; David Liebman: soprano and tenor saxophones, wood flute; David Binney: alto saxophone; Uri Caine: piano, Fender Rhodes; Stephan Crump: bass; Dan Weiss: drums; Todd Isler: percussion; Gary Versace: piano (9); Rob Burger: B3 organ (11); Jen Chapin: voice (6).

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: HighNote Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Fun with Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Fun with Notes
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Americana" CD/LP/Track Review Americana
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Beloved" CD/LP/Track Review Beloved
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 14, 2016
Read "A Tribute to Herbie +1" CD/LP/Track Review A Tribute to Herbie +1
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 5, 2016
Read "The Real Deal" CD/LP/Track Review The Real Deal
by James Nadal
Published: June 12, 2016
Read "Right to Love" CD/LP/Track Review Right to Love
by Jim Olin
Published: June 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!