205

Winard Harper Sextet: Make It Happen

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Winard Harper Sextet: Make It Happen Jazz records made in one day aren't particularly unique. But looking at the large cast of players on Make It Happen, one has to be impressed at the amount of planning that went into the session—an effort that, in the hands of lesser mortals, might suck the life out of such an ambitious outing. But drummer Winard Harper's disc is a lively if not slightly schizophrenic date that mixes up strong African and Afro-Cuban rhythms, mainstream swing, and even a little soul jazz. Sequencing is everything and, surprisingly, what could come off as unfocused is instead infectious, accessible and eminently fun.

A resume that includes work with David "Fathead Newman, Houston Person and Dexter Gordon gives Harper all the cred he needs in the bop and soul departments. His own discs, including Come Into the Light (Savant, 2004), have demonstrated an increasingly broad set of interests. Harper and percussionists Kevin and Jeremy Jones kick off Charlie Parker's "Segment here, setting the excitement quotient high on a track that swings its ass off. Harper adds a fourth percussionist, Abdou Mboup, on the more groove-centric "Children of the World, which opens up for a powerful tenor solo by Lawrence Clark.

"Morning Glow is more relaxed, featuring concise but beautifully constructed solos from Clark, trumpeter Josh Evans and altoist Antonio Hart. The title track covers a lot of ground, beginning with trombonist Wycliffe Gordon's didgeridoo, leading into a delicate tribal percussion section featuring Harper on balafon, then settling into a soul jazz groove with Gordon back for a trombone solo that ranges from supple to growling. Harper's ability to bring together so many seemingly disparate styles without feeling cluttered or incongruous is remarkable.

Elsewhere the lines are more clearly defined. Bassist Aimeen Saleem's "Tamisha is a relaxed feature for Hart, while the standard "I've Never Been in Love Before is a lithely swinging track that spotlights Evans' behind-the-beat phrasing. Gordon's "Get It! Get It! is an up-tempo burner with defined by vivid solos from Gordon, Harper, Evans and Clark. Clark is a real discovery, and a player well worth watching.

The rest of the disc continues to mix and match. Harper's mallet-driven "Divine Surveillance, the juke joint blues of "After Hours and the closing "The Prayer —another visceral percussion track featuring Harper on balafon and Mboup's vocals—are clear highlights.

With artificial borders being dissolved in music all the time, it's good news that albums like Make It Happen need no longer suffer from criticisms of being too eclectic. Instead, it's just another example of how the world is getting smaller, and in the best possible way.


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.

Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Piadrum Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Apprentice" CD/LP/Track Review Apprentice
by Alex Franquelli
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "First Set" CD/LP/Track Review First Set
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "The Lightning Bell" CD/LP/Track Review The Lightning Bell
by John Eyles
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "ReNew" CD/LP/Track Review ReNew
by James Nadal
Published: March 27, 2016
Read "Dream Maps" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Maps
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Super Petite" CD/LP/Track Review Super Petite
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 13, 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!

Buy it!