by Russell Perry
Ironically, the record label that most consistently offered an outlet for the American jazz avant-garde in the 1980s was the Italian Black Saint / Soul Note imprint. On All About Jazz, Jeff Stockton wrote, ..."from 1984 to 1989 Black Saint won the Down Beat critics poll for Best Label" and Best Producer" and established itself as the Blue Note of its time, a label whose mark and reputation alone assured the listener that the music would be adventurous, exciting jazz ...read more
by R.J. DeLuke
On stage, Billy Harper puts his lips to the tenor saxophone, stands relatively erect and sings through his horn; a strong, angular, muscular sound. There little physical gesticulation, belying the effort it takes to express feelings and emotions through the instrument. But Harper's creative statements demand attention. Over the last few years, a lot of that energy is expressed on stage with the Cookers, a star-studded septet that has been burning up the scene, gaining fans and critical ...read more
by Troy Collins
Cast the First Stone is the sophomore follow-up to Warriors (Jazz Legacy Productions, 2010), the debut recording of the all-star ensemble The Cookers, whose name was inspired by the 1965 Blue Note live album series Night of the Cookers. Lending credence to its namesake, this powerhouse septet swings mightily through a series of post-bop originals and a sole cover, bolstered by the presence of special guest, acclaimed saxophonist Azar Lawrence, whose recent resurgence has found the renowned firebrand in riveting ...read more
by George Kanzler
Tenor saxophonist Billy Harper has been keeping the jazz fires kindled by the ritualistic, incantatory side of the classic John Coltrane Quartet stoked and burning bright for over a quarter-century. Here Harper's working quintet, augmented by a second bassist, presents a program redolent of the processional and the chant. Over it all, Harper's coruscating, brawny tenor strides like a colossus (only Sonny Rollins may have a richer, fuller tone) with a charged intensity matching the roiling, loping, massed rhythms of ...read more
by Woodrow Wilkins
Three discs, three creative artists, one concept--Blueprints of Jazz presents some of jazz music's eminently worthy but less widely known innovators. Tenor saxophonist Billy Harper and drummers Mike Clark and Donald Bailey have been fixtures on the jazz scene from 1950s through the 1970s, and they still produce fresh sounds.
Mike Clark Blueprints of Jazz, Volume 1 Talking House Records 2008
Mike Clark is probably best known for his work ...read more
by Russ Musto
Billy Harper has one of the most impressive resumes in jazz, including stints with Gil Evans, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Lee Morgan, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Charles Tolliver and Randy Weston, but it is his unique sound on the tenor and distinctive style as a composer that has brought him international acclaim and truly sets him apart from most other players.
All About Jazz: Let's start with some of the things you've been up to lately?read more