186

Marilyn Harris with the LA Jazz All-Stars Big Band: Round Trip

By

Sign in to view read count
Marilyn Harris with the LA Jazz All-Stars Big Band: Round Trip
Marilyn Harris is that rare musical commodity who can write funny and clever songs in the tradition of Dave Frishberg, Bob Dorough (who appears on this album) and Mose Allison, among others. She also writes "serious" songs that tell a story (eg. "That Afternoon in Harlem," which specifically relates to a jazz environment, or "Letting Go," which does not). Round Trip is the third release from the West Coast jazz singer/songwriter; her 2004 album Future Street was one of the best vocal releases of the year.

For this occasion, Harris delivers a variety of material, all played splendidly by the top-flight LA Jazz All-Stars Big Band, which includes such jazz players as Pete Christlieb, Bill Watrous, Dan Higgins, Don Helton, Waren Luening and Andy Martin. With the exception of two songs, Harris provides all new originals, either written by herself or co-written with musical collaborator Mark Winkler. Winkler recorded a few good albums during the mid 1980s in a Kenny Rankin-type setting. The striking arrangements by Mark Wolfram sometimes reminded me of the riffs of the Supersax organization from several decades ago.

Harris displays her jazz chops on "Bebop High," an up-tempo tribute to the bebop era, and "The Wisdom of Sam Kinison," which is about as unusual a subject as one could imagine in a jazz tune. (The late comedian's advice to all is to "follow the food.") Harris' wit is in fine form on "They're Gonna Love Me," a tart series of comments on how the death of a jazzman will ensure his legacy. The liner notes suggest that this song is crying out for a Mose Allison version, and I couldn't have worded it any better.

Guest Bob Dorough (who wrote the very hip liner notes for the 2004 album) steps on board for a duet on "Cool," and Mark Winkler provides the male vocal on his duet for "Way Out Here In The Country." Harris gives a bravura performance of the Jerry Herman show tune "If He Walked Into My Life" (from Mame), which was a big hit for Eydie Gorme, and she also provides the vocal for the Marian McPartland/Johnny Mercer piece "Twilight World."

The performances by these musicians indeed deserve mention, among them several tenor sax solos from Pete Christlieb. In addition, similar work from Bill Watrous, Andy Martin, Dan Higgins, Jim Fox and Don Shelton are also highlights. The final question remains as to whether or not Round Trip measures up to Future Street. The entire 2004 effort was virtually a home run, while on the new work, there are a flurry of extra-base hits on many of the tracks. This should remain a minor distinction to both fans and first-time Marilyn Harris listeners in the measurement of this successful work.

Track Listing

Round Trip; The Cards Keep Comin

Personnel

Marilyn Harris: vocals, piano; Mark Wolfram: arranger, producer, vocal (6); Wayne Bergeron, Larry Lunetta, Warren Luening, Rick Baptist: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dan Higgins: alto sax, flute; Don Shelton: alto sax, flute, clarinet; Bill Liston: tenor sax; Pete Christlieb: tenor sax, alto flute; John Yoakum: tenor sax, piccolo, alto flute; Greg Huckins: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Andy Martin, Bruce Otto, Charlie Loper: trombone; Charlie Morillas: bass trombone; Jim Fox: guitar; Chuck Berghofer: bass; Ralph Humphrey, Peter Erskine: drums. Special guests: Bob Dorough: vocal (8); Bill Watrous: trombone (11).

Album information

Title: Round Trip | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Wrightwood Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Sone Ka-la 2: Odyssey
Jacques Schwarz-Bart
It's My Turn
The Echo Park Project
Da Fé
Dan Blake
Dream Disobedience
Elisabeth Harnik / Michael Zerang
Soul Conversations
Ulysses Owens Jr. Big Band
Sud Des Alpes
The Rempis Percussion Quartet
Hokusai
Sabu Toyozumi / Mats Gustafsson

Popular

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded albums and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, limited reopenings and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary step that will help musicians and venues now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the sticky footer ad). Thank you!

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.