All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

409

Winard Harper Sextet: Make It Happen

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Veteran drummer Winard Harper (who has played with Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Betty Carter, Ray Bryant, Abdullah Ibrahim, Pharoah Sanders, Clifford Jordan and others) gives us two albums in one on Make It Happen.

The first is percussion-heavy. The opening tracks, for example, present an approach to ensemble sound that recalls Mosaic-era Jazz Messengers (carefully arranged multiple-horn lines over a busy, insistent rhythm section). The best compositions echo episodes in the Mingus lineage (notably Dave Holland's excellent mid-'80s groups). These elements can be traced back to a common ancestor in Duke Ellington, and you can't have better roots than that.

These musical elements are held together by a genuinely novel mix of Afro-Cuban and unhyphenated African percussion. The percussion draws upon the more familiar Latin rhythms known to jazz audiences since Dizzy Gillespie invited Mario Bauza into his band (witness the flawless Latin jazz marriage in Harper's treatment of Charlie Parker's "Segment"), but also other West African elements which are distinct from the more familiar Yoruba heritage: most notably the invigorating Senegalese talking drum passages on "Children of the World." Three nearly all-percussion numbers are a special treat, especially the title track, from Wycliffe Gordon's didgeridoo prelude to its organ-drenched finale over a Brazilianesque rhythm.

The other album is a relatively crammed set of decidedly mainstream allegro ma non troppo jazz; more than a few numbers have to be faded out long before they've worn out their welcome to make room for the others. The locus of inspiration for this second part fluctuates between the '50s ("I've Never Been in Love Before ) and '60s ("Chronic Mistakes, the bass/alto duet "Tamisha ), and the added percussion is either inaudible or unobtrusive (and always appreciated, when you can hear it). It manifests the same great Duke-ish approach to group sound.

Harper assembles a spirited ensemble, augmented on the best tracks by an idiosyncratic band of supplementary percussionists, who play with a palpable joy and solidarity. The percussionists, beginning with Harper, lead the pack; trumpeter Josh Evans' brassy (as opposed to airy) tone recalls Lester Bowie (and ultimately, Rex Stewart) and deserves special mention, but then so too do guests Antonio Hart (alto sax) and Lawrence Clark (tenor sax).

I could listen to the numbers on the percussion-heavy part again and again. As for the cuts on the "second" album, they offer fewer reasons to return for more (with the exception of "Divine Surveillance, which has a certain gravitas). If the balance between the two had been struck more decisively in favor of the first, this would be a stronger overall release, and there is no doubt in my mind that these players could have sustained the passion of the percussion-based group over nearly eighty minutes.

As it is, the unflagging excellence of the compositions, arrangements and soloing (that's just about everything on a jazz record, isn't it?), added to the evident camaraderie of the players throughout, make for a strong and joyful entry under the "soulful/mainstream heading.


Track Listing: Segment; Children of the World; Morning Glow; Make It Happen; Tamisha; I've Never Been in Love Before; Get It! Get It!; Not One Chance; Reflection; Divine Surveillance; Lourana; Chronic Mistakes; BangBangBoomBoomBapBap; After Hours; The Prayer.

Personnel: Winard Harper: drums, Balafon (2,15); Wycliffe Gordon: trombone (4,7,14), didgeridoo (4); Antonio Hart: alto saxophone (3,5,6); Josh Evans: trumpet; Lawrence Clark: tenor saxophone; Stacy Dillard: tenor saxophone (1,12); T. W. Sample: piano; Sean Higgins: piano (1,9,12); Ameen Saleem: bass; Alioune Faye: sabar, jamba, djembe; Abdou Mboup: talking drum (tama) (2,15), vocal (15); Kevin Jones: conga, jamba, shaker, triangle; Jeremy Jones: tambourine, cowbell, dundun.

Title: Make It Happen | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Piadrum Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Coexist

Coexist

Jazz Legacy Productions
2012

buy
 

Make It Happen

Piadrum Records
2007

buy
Make It Happen

Make It Happen

Piadrum Records
2006

buy
Come into the Light

Come into the Light

Savant Records
2005

buy
A Time For The Soul

A Time For The Soul

Savant Records
2004

buy
A Time For The Soul

A Time For The Soul

Savant Records
2003

buy

Related Articles

Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Lifelike CD/LP/Track Review
Lifelike
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Whatever Possessed Me CD/LP/Track Review
Whatever Possessed Me
by Don Phipps
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live At The Fillmore East 1968 CD/LP/Track Review
Live At The Fillmore East 1968
by Doug Collette
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read "Dust Shines" CD/LP/Track Review Dust Shines
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 13, 2018
Read "Schlitten" CD/LP/Track Review Schlitten
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Flux Reflux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "Fountain Of Youth" CD/LP/Track Review Fountain Of Youth
by David A. Orthmann
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Glenn Gould in Russia: Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Webern, Krenek" CD/LP/Track Review Glenn Gould in Russia: Bach, Beethoven, Berg, Webern, Krenek
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Tetrawind" CD/LP/Track Review Tetrawind
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 24, 2017