127

Ronnie Laws: Harvest For The World

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
On many occasions, Ronnie Laws hasn't hesitated to stoop to musical prostitution and record mindless, knee-jerk "elevator muzak" for the "smooth jazz" market. But the tenor & soprano saxman showed signs of repentance in 1996, when he recorded the soul-jazz gem A Tribute To The Legendary Eddie Harris. Saluting one of his main influences, Laws demonstrated that he could still be a riveting improviser and delivered his best album in 20 years. But sadly, Laws' fling with quality was too good to last. And with Harvest For The World, he's back to recording schlock.

The idea of a jazz instrumentalist paying tribute to the Isleys' music is intriguing-it's certainly a more interesting prospect than yet another "Young Lion" playing "Round Midnight." But this album is hardly the gem it could have been. While some of the straight-up R&B cuts are decent (including "Who Loves You Better," featuring sibling Debra Laws on vocals), instrumental versions of "Harvest For The World," "So You Wanna Stay Down" and "At Your Best You Are Love" are glaring examples of "elevator muzak" at its most shameless, boring and formulaic.

As an instrumentalist, Laws fares somewhat better on "You Still Feel The Need" and "People Of Today" (a rare example of him switching to flute). Although not breathtaking, at least they involve some interpreting. But for the most part, this disappointing album isn't about interpretation-it's about throwing musical integrity to the wind and wasting your talents on embarrassing, dishonest fluff.


Title: Harvest For The World | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Real Feels - Live Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Real Feels - Live Vol. 1
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by John Sharpe
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Marseille" CD/LP/Track Review Marseille
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "The Book of Transfigurations" CD/LP/Track Review The Book of Transfigurations
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 8, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.