by Terrell Kent Holmes
Drummer, composer and bandleader Winard Harper brings his relentless exuberance to Make It Happen, where the seemingly disparate Afro-Caribbean and bebop styles stand shoulder to shoulder. The percussion-driven nature of the recording is evident from the top, with an energetic arrangement of Charlie Parker's Segment where Alione Faye's percussion binding the fabric of the two genres seamlessly, while Stacy Dillard and Josh Evans, on tenor and trumpet, handle the bebop chores. Harper's balafon play and Abdou Mboup's talking drum give ...read more
by Franz A. Matzner
A tremendous force on the drums and percussion instruments of all kinds and a successful bandleader, Winard Harper has been beating on one kind of instrument or another since almost before he could walk. A child prodigy and now a veteran performer, Harper's music recognizes few stylistic, cultural, or genre boundaries. Comfortable in any setting--whether playing on the Kennedy Center stage with longtime collaborator Dr. Billy Taylor--or leading his own raucous, multi-cultural band at a local club, Harper is one ...read more
by John Kelman
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 ...read more
by Jeff Dayton-Johnson
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 ...read more
by Russ Musto
Come into the Light is Winard Harper's first live recording as a leader and the disc captures all the excitement and diversity the drummer's band delivers in its regular engagements. Recorded live at Cecil's Place (the Jersey club opened by drummer/producer Cecil Brooks III), the date features Harper's regular band of talented players, none of whom who have yet gotten the opportunity to record as leader, despite their obvious capabilities. Patrick Rickman is easily one of the most exciting trumpeters ...read more
by AAJ Staff
Hard bop is no longer new, but when done right, it's one of the eternal verities of jazz. When done right, by musicians who feel the music in their guts, it's full of heart and full of life. And A Time For The Soul, the latest release from drummer Winard Harper, is hard bop done right.
Ever since his days with The Harper Brothers in the early 1990's, Winard Harper has been establishing himself as a musician to ...read more