Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » Harold Mabern: Mabern Plays Coltrane

7

Harold Mabern: Mabern Plays Coltrane

By

Sign in to view read count
Harold Mabern: Mabern Plays Coltrane
As is too often the case, we gain more and more respect and insight into an artist after he or she has passed away. Harold Mabern may have been overshadowed by many of his peers but he remained true to himself: bringing to the music a Memphis-bred hard bop blues and flourishing as both sought after sideman and impish, emphatic leader.

Mabern never let you forget that, by all accounts, he was a generous, joyous man who reveled not only in the music of the moment but in the grandly human art of communication. His big hands could, at any given moment in the studio or onstage, create thunder, bombast, silence, solace. He could waltz you across the dance floor or pin you to your seat. Mabern, God bless him, could play it all. And, to our eternal gratitude, he did. No pomp or circumstance, just true spirit. Thus the spirit guides him on this posthumous set, Mabern Plays Coltrane.

Mabern Plays Coltrane completes a trio of career defining releases taken from a three week residency at NYC's Smoke Jazz and Supper Club in January of 2018. The first, The Iron Man, (Smoke Sessions Records, 2018) fervently spotlighted Mabern the performer and interpreter and proved beyond doubt what he brought to every stage on any given night: power, grace, unbridled (yet humble) virtuosity, and humor. Mabern Plays Mabern, (Smoke Sessions Records, 2020) highlighted his many striking compositions, among them "The Beehive," "Rakin' and Scrapin,'" and the boisterous "Iron Man."

So Mabern Plays Coltrane is just that and then some. A powerhouse set of John Coltrane originals and setlist standards that perhaps, somewhere above this troubled plane, has Coltrane confiding to Mabern, "Damn bro, I should have played them in that order." Accompanied by the same sextet that tore into Mabern Plays Mabern: namely Vincent Herring, alto sax, Eric Alexander, tenor sax, trombonist Steve Davis, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth. "Dahomey Dance" ignites the hour long set and the fire burns bright long after.

Clean, brisk, rocking, raucous, and never lacking in energy, free swing or inspiration, the horns tear into "Blue Train" and a blistering "Impressions." Farnsworth juggles rhythm and meter. Webber veers, twists, and turns with insightful agility. "Naima" and "Dear Lord" showcase subtlety and nuance. And at the center of it all, where he rightfully belongs, is Harold Mabern. Long may his piano resound.

Track Listing

Dahomey Dance; Blue Train; Impressions; Dear Lord; My Favorite Things; Naima; Straight Street.

Personnel

Vincent Herring
saxophone
Eric Alexander
saxophone, tenor
Steve Davis
trombone
John Webber
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Mabern Plays Coltrane | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Smoke Sessions Records


Comments

Tags


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.

More

Moab
Garza / Fawcett / Wojtowicz
Gifts
Dave Douglas
Circles
Friends & Neighbors

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

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