Roman Sun is a delightful collection of smartly arranged, and deftly performed tunes selected from jazz standards, and the enduring corpus of the Great American Songbook. An original composition, the CD’s title cut, by leader/pianist John Harrison rounds out the ten selections on the recording. Good consistent time, driving swing, tight ensemble, and the inventive soloing present on Roman Sun exemplify skills of musicians who obviously possess chops that far exceed a mere level of competence.
The title tune “Roman Sun,” begins with Harrison’s solo piano in an almost ballad like approach. The addition of the bass and drums clearly enhance a Latin influenced sound and the bridge is quite reminiscent of the work of Chick Corea. The trio also renders sensitive readings of the ballads “You Won’t Forget Me,” and “Ballad of the Sad Young Men.” With “The Way You Look Tonight” and “Its You or No One,” the trio demonstrates an ability to swing as hard as anyone. The performance of “Willow Weep For Me” is a delight as it mutates from a loping two-beat feel in the opening performance of the head, to a more soulful sound similar to that of Gene Harris or Horace Silver. The recording closes with a masterful performance of the off-beat and perhaps tongue-in-cheek Thelonious Monk composition “Rhythm-A-Ning.”
Roman Sun would be a most welcome addition to anyone’s CD collection. The quality of the recording is excellent with a clean sound and good balance and separation of the instruments. The recording would be of great interest to the casual jazz listener for the uncluttered, straightforward, swinging sounds that are present. Roman Sun would also have great appeal to the jazz aficionado who appreciates high levels of musicianship and great jazz playing.
Track Listing: It's You or No One, Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers, Watching the Years Go By, Roman Sun, Ballad of the Sad Young Men, The Way You Look Tonight, Velas, Willow Weep for Me, You Won't Forget Me, Rhythm-A-Ning
Personnel: John Harrison III, piano; Peter Kontrimas, acoustic bass; Alan Hall, drums
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.