Articles | Popular | Future

LIVE REVIEWS

Donald Harrison, Ron Carter & Billy Cobham Trio: New York, NY, January 8, 2013

Read "Donald Harrison, Ron Carter & Billy Cobham Trio: New York, NY, January 8, 2013" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Donald Harrison, Ron Carter & Billy Cobham TrioBlue NoteNew York, NYJanuary 8, 2013All-Star groupings are often dreamed up by promoters looking to capitalize on one-off, big name combinations that never really have the opportunity to gel; that's not the case with saxophonist Donald Harrison, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Cobham's trio. A New Orleans modernist who comes from the university of drummer Art Blakey, jazz's preeminent acoustic bassist and a fusion kingpin may seem ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Donald Harrison & Quantum Leap: New York City, NY, September 20, 2012

Read "Donald Harrison & Quantum Leap: New York City, NY, September 20, 2012" reviewed by Ernest Barteldes

Donald Harrison & Quantum LeapThe Jazz StandardNew York City, New YorkSeptember 20, 2012New Orleans-based saxophonist Donald Harrison kicked off the evening's first set with a shuffle-based groove, immediately starting with an improvised solo. The quintet, rounded out by pianist Zaccai Curtis, bassist Max Moran, drummer Joe Dyson and electric guitarist Detroit Brooks, sounded very tight, even though Brooks was not very audible at first. As the band members took their own individual moments, Harrison took ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: This Is Jazz

Read "This Is Jazz" reviewed by Greg Simmons

Saxophonist Donald Harrison's name is writ large on the cover of This Is Jazz, but the album is a collaborative trio in every sense. After all, playing with legendary bassist Ron Carter and drummer extraordinaire Billy Cobham could never be equated with simply hiring sidemen. Recorded live at New York's Blue Note, the six tracks on this album take post- bop expansion to exemplary heights and keep it there for the duration. Harrison has a tight but wandering ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: The Chosen

Read "The Chosen" reviewed by Francis Lo Kee

Donald Harrison's The Chosen is dedicated to the people who do their “best, no matter what circumstances come" their way. If you know anything about Harrison, you know that he's from New Orleans and suffered significantly after Hurricane Katrina so he knows what he is talking about. This collection of originals and standards displays Harrison as a saxophonist who prefers the honest, direct route to musical expression. Though there are some intricate approaches to the material, all the pieces display ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Donald Harrison, Jr. Quartet in Denver

Read "Donald Harrison, Jr. Quartet in Denver" reviewed by Geoff Anderson

Donald Harrison, Jr. Quartet Dazzle Nightclub Denver, Colorado January 17, 2008

Genetics has a concept called “hybrid vigor," which means that you get much healthier and more vital offspring when the parents are not closely related. Basically, that's why you shouldn't marry your sister. Donald Harrison, Jr. is a master at marrying diverse musical varieties which, in turn, yields vigorous, even vivacious musical progeny. Thursday night at Dazzle, Harrison displayed the results of ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: The Survivor

Read "The Survivor" reviewed by John Barron

Donald Harrison has earned premiere status in the jazz world as an inventive improviser with a highly personalized voice. His command of the alto saxophone is second to none and his contributions as a genre-hopping composer are compelling to discerning and casual listeners alike. On The Survivor, recorded for the German Nagel Hayer label, the Art Blakey alumnus takes a brazen leap into the world of modern funk with the support of venerable piano giant Mulgrew Miller and open-minded youngsters ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: Free Style; New York Cool

Read "Donald Harrison: Free Style; New York Cool" reviewed by Russ Musto

Donald Harrison is one of the most confident and convincing improvisers in jazz today. The boundary leaping New Orleans alto saxophonist's distinctive broad toned sound is immediately recognizable as his own, regardless of the environment in which it is being heard, be it bebop, hard bop, New Orleans R & B or funk. Harrison has managed to forge his variegated influences and extensive experience into a uniquely personal style. These discs feature the Art Blakey alumnus with two different groups ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: Free Style

Read "Free Style" reviewed by Keiran Smalley

Coming across the music of Donald Harrison was something of a happy accident for me. I was not really listening to our local jazz radio station late one evening; my thoughts were wandering elsewhere. Suddenly this great tune came on. It consisted of a stripped-down funky rhythm overlaid with a simple yet insistent alto line which grew more and more intense and free as the track wore on. By this point the radio had my full attention and I was ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: Free Style

Read "Free Style" reviewed by John Kelman

They say context is everything, and nobody knows that better than alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, who recorded Free Style literally back-to-back with his last Nagel Heyer release, Heroes , featuring bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Cobham. While both sessions are trio dates--with the exception of three tracks featuring pianist Glen Patscha--one couldn't find two more diametrically opposed records. And yet, strangely enough, Harrison's distinctively meticulous style links both sessions. While the inclusion of two tunes from the Free Style ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: Heroes

Read "Heroes" reviewed by Jeff Stockton

Ron Carter, one of altoist Donald Harrison's heroes and the primary bassist on this recording, makes the point that Harrison comes from New Orleans, but doesn't insist that he does. Harrison approaches his tradition with a pure heart, and from his apprenticeship with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in the mid '80s through his own leadership in the '90s, he has evolved an historical idiom into an absolutely contemporary, individual style. The title track kicks things off ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: Heroes

Read "Heroes" reviewed by John Kelman

Stripping down from his quintet début on Nagel Heyer, '02's Real Life Stories , saxophonist Donald Harrison teams up with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Cobham, two of his personal heroes. Having an intermittent history with both musicians, Harrison obviously felt that the combination would provide the perfect combination of groove, freedom and exploration. The result is a mainstream set that purposefully raises the bar for Harrison, forcing him to think outside the box and deliver one of his ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Donald Harrison: Real Life Stories

Read "Real Life Stories" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Nouveau Swing...

Alto saxophonist Donald Harrison is all about dance. It is danceable rhythms that fuel his nouveau swing vision of jazz. Not necessarily Latin in texture, the rhythm is at once angular and smooth—a musical dichotomy. The 42-year-old New Orleans native has been recording since the mid 1980s and has produced a solid track record writing, arranging and performing original and standard repertoire using his nouveau swing roadmap. It is this vision and road map that allows Harrison the ...