Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

147

Gene Harris & The Philip Morris Superstars: Live

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
If aliens landed in my front yard tomorrow and demanded to hear a quintessential jazz recording, I might offer them Live. This is the sort of smooth mainstream effort that originally turned me on to jazz. The music is hardly cutting-edge, but it's accessible, swinging, and thoroughly drenched in the blues.

Live was recorded on April 22, 1995, and features seven distinguished jazz elders who gathered at San Diego's University Club for a performance that closed out a seminar on free speech.

Gene Harris is arguably the bluesiest jazz pianist alive. His playing here is typically nimble and a bit flamboyant at times, but that's his style. The soul factor jumps off the scale when Stanley Turrentine blows his big-toned tenor sax. Joining them are fellow heavyweights Kenny Burrell (guitar), Harry "Sweets" Edison (trumpet), George Mraz (bass), and Lewis Nash (drums). Last but not least, vocalist Ernie Andrews steps up to the mic and steals the show on two tracks.

Experience hasn't diminished these players' enthusiasm. They clearly had fun entertaining the herd of freedom-loving highbrows in San Diego.

Three of the seven cuts are medleys, one an Ellington tribute, the others a couple of animated blues excursions featuring Andrews' charismatic vocals. On "Low Down Blues Medley," the CD's closer, Andrews imitates Charles Brown, Jimmy Rushing, Ivie Anderson, Al Hibbler and Walter Brown in a performance that's funny, respectful and heartfelt all at once.

Besides Ellington, the medleys borrow from Charlie Parker ("Parker's Mood"), Count Basie ("Goin' To Chicago"), Miles Davis ("All Blues"), Jay McShann ("Confessin' The Blues"), and others. The classic tunes "Bag's Groove" and "Cottontail" positively smoke in these capable hands. Burrell plays with style and flair on the Ellington medley. Mraz and Edison team up beautifully on "I Wish I Knew." A swinging version of "Time After Time" rounds out a very satisfying collection.

In effect, the Philip Morris All Stars deliver an hour-long history lesson in blues-derived jazz. The mainstream has seldom sounded better.

Rating ***1/2 (out of ****)

Track Listing: Bag's Groove, I Wish I Knew, Ellington Medley: Star Crossed Lovers/Take the "A" Train, Time After Time, Collage in Blue: All Blues/Everyday I have the Blues/Goin' Down Slow/CC Rider, Cottontail, Low Down Blues Medley: Parker's Mood/Goin' to Chicago, Rocks in My Bed, Confessin' the Blues.

Personnel: Gene Harris: Piano; Kenny Burrell: Guitar; George Mraz: Bass; Stanley Turrentine: Tenor Saxophone; Harry "Sweets" Edison": Trumpet, Lewis Nash: Drums, Ernie Andrews: Vocals.

Title: Live | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Concord Music Group

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Warning: include(/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/data/websites/jazznearyou.com/www/html/templates/calendar/cal_related_cached.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php5:/data/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html:/usr/share/php') in /home/websites/allaboutjazz.com/www/html/content/article.php on line 68

More Articles

Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Vertical CD/LP/Track Review Vertical
by Don Phipps
Published: January 16, 2018
Read In Stride CD/LP/Track Review In Stride
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 16, 2018
Read Solid Gold CD/LP/Track Review Solid Gold
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 15, 2018
Read Ts'iibil Chaaltun CD/LP/Track Review Ts'iibil Chaaltun
by Don Phipps
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Piano Song" CD/LP/Track Review Piano Song
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 12, 2017
Read "Alleviation" CD/LP/Track Review Alleviation
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Chimeric Stoned Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Chimeric Stoned Horn
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 3, 2017
Read "Happiness!" CD/LP/Track Review Happiness!
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "Viriditas" CD/LP/Track Review Viriditas
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 14, 2017