With her heart stuck on jazz for keeps, Marilyn Harris sings this program of originals, plus two chestnuts, with the authenticity of a life-long veteran. She knows. Big band arrangements by Mark Wolfram give the session such a flair that its memory lingers on long after the disc has completed its spin. Wolfram fashions the big band's brass, woodwind and rhythm sections together with transparent filaments, while Harris contributes thrilling lyrics. She's a clever songwriter who feels as comfortable with vocalese as sensual ballads.
Bob Dorough guests on "Cool, a witty song about owning a hip image, done up with an elegant band serenade. "That Afternoon in Harlem stands out as the album's most beautiful piece, lounging mellifluously with tender mercies. "The Cards Keep Comin', a swinging blues, features a relaxed attitude, while "Bebop High offers a vital lesson in up-tempo vocalese.
"They're Gonna Love Me features lyrics about jazz's worldwide acceptance, and how the irony of it all sometimes means that due respect for one's contributions come only after death. The session features creative soloing from band members that stirs the pot continuously. The players who lend superb musical commentary include tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb, guitarist Jim Fox, trombonist Andy Martin, alto saxophonist Don Shelton, trumpeter Warren Luening and trombonist Bill Watrous.
Round Trip stands out as the logical candidate for album cover of the year, featuring the image of a road map that includes musical clues throughout the land, with city names such as Heftiville, Brubeck Corners, Maynardsville and Nestico Village, as well as Moon River, Cannonball Creek, Don Ellis Museum of Musical Oddities and Basie International Airport.
Round Trip appeals to a broad audience and comes highly recommended. The music comes from deep-rooted soul, picks up on a century of tradition, and broadens its scope to include hints of Disney popularity and many happy returns.
Track Listing: Round Trip; The Cards Keep Comin
Personnel: Marilyn Harris: vocals, piano; Bob Dorough, Mark Wolfram: vocal; Dan Higgins: alto saxophone, flute; Don Shelton: alto saxophone, flute, clarinet; John Yoakum: tenor saxophone, piccolo, alto flute; Pete Christlieb: tenor saxophone, alto flute; Bill Liston: tenor saxophone; Greg Huckins: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Wayne Bergeron, Larry Lunetta, Rick Baptist, Warren Luening: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bill Watrous, Andy Martin, Charlie Loper, Bruce Otto: trombone; Charlie Morillas: bass trombone; Jim Fox: guitar; Chuck Berghofer: bass; Peter Erskine, Ralph Humphrey: drums.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.