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After Eddie Harris and Les McCann recorded the legendary album, Swiss Movement, they didn't rest on their laurels. Nor did they go their separate ways.
They recorded another album, Second Movement. However, Second Movement never has been available on CD until now, now that Label M's Joel Dorn has revisited that session with yet another valuable release on the new label.
While Swiss Movement was recorded live before a cheering and vocally appreciative audience at Montreaux, Second Movement was a more controlled project that called in musicians to produce a follow-up album in a studio.
That doesn't mean that the Harris/McCann fire dimmed or that spontaneity was absent. Far from it. Harris and McCann decided to go the gospel-influenced and social-consciousness route on Second Movement, even calling in background vocalists to reinforce the spirituality of their message on "Carry On Brother."
McCann's singing on "Universal Prisoner" stresses the importance of raising awareness of injusticesimilar to what Oscar Brown, Jr. was doingas Harris proves the lyrical potential of the electric saxphone. Harris' work on "Set Us Free" is lyrically expressed with subtlety and feeling as a warm-up to the section of tambourine-uplifting celebration in the middle of the tune.
From a pure jazz perspective, though, the first track, "Shorty Rides Again," provides the most interest as Harris sinuously weaves his improvisational lines over a single chord for entire choruses. Bernard Purdie elevates the power of the tune with his understated sizzle and snap, while McCann prods Harris with aggressive vamping and talking over the music, similar to what was done on "What's Going On?"
For the Eddie Harris/Les McCann completist, Second Movement finally is available for the enjoyment of their second and last recorded pairing.
Track Listing: Shorty Rides Again, Universal Prisoner, Carry On Brother, Set Us Free, Samia
Personnel: Eddie Harris, tenor sax & electric sax; Les McCann, Fender Rhodes, vocals; Cornell Dupree, guitar; James Rowser, acoustic bass; Jerry Jemmott, electric bass; Donald Dean, Bernard Purdie, drums; Buck Clark, African drums, percussion; Cissy Houston, Judy Clay, Deidre Tuck, Rennelle Stafford, background vocals
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.