Bassist Harvie S has worked with a who's who of jazz artists, including saxophonists Stan Getz and Michael Brecker and vocalists Sheila Jordan and Mark Murphy. As a leader or co-leader, S has recorded extensively, most recently in the Latin-jazz realm with Funky Cha (Zoho Music, 2006). Now Was The Time, a previously unreleased session from 1986, is an extraordinary, straight-ahead duo recording by S and pianist Kenny Barron. Aside from S's original "Take Your Time," the repertoire consists of standard fare performed with the kind of vigor one would expect from these two veterans.
With a duo partner as responsive and giving as Barron, S seizes the opportunity to showcase upper-register melodic flair, singing out familiar themes like "Body And Soul," "Isn't It Romantic?" and "All or Nothing at All." The bassist's horn-like, bebop-based phrasing is as engaging as it is inventive. His virtuosity is on full display as he manipulates the limitations of four strings on "Darn That Dream," done as a spirited waltz, and the Wayne Shorter ballad "Miyako."
Barron is allowed plenty of solo space to demonstrate his chameleon-like approach to jazz piano. With hard-swinging single-note lines ("Confirmation," "Take Your Time" and "Darn That Dream") and poignant phrasing ("Body and Soul," "Miyako"), the pianist glides through the session with assured ease.
S ends the disc with a solo-bass rendition of Billy Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge," utilizing blistering runs, double stops and chords, leaving no doubts about his stature as one of the preeminent bass voices in jazz today.
Confirmation; All or Nothing At All; Body And Soul; Take Your Time; Darn That Dream; Miyako; Isn't It Romantic?; Chelsea Bridge.