348

Craig Harris: Souls Within the Veil

Rex  Butters By

Sign in to view read count
Craig Harris: Souls Within the Veil Craig Harris returns with an ambitious, fully-realized project composed to commemorate the centennial of W.E.B. Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folks. Recruiting ten of the strongest voices playing today, including Steve Coleman, Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake and Don Byron, Harris creates a powerful suite recorded live over two CDs. Twelve years have elapsed since Harris' last recorded solo project, during which time he actively participated in numerous multimedia performance pieces as composer, performer, conceptualist, curator and artistic director. A veteran of Sun Ra, David Murray, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy and Henry Threadgill, Harris delivers an eminently listenable work that inspires, uplifts and satisfies.

The ensemble blows mellow for a velvety opening statement by Harris on "The Veil." Byron keeps it all blues, then Cecil McBee and Billy Hart support Coleman's flight, which is looser than his ensemble work. Byron soars on clarinet, generating applause mid-solo. Hart duets with Kahil El'Zabar's hand drumming to introduce "The Color Line." Graham Haynes paints incisive lines through burning rhythms and smeary horns. After Coleman bubbles lava, Harris sprays flame, then Lake throws an incendiary device—his alto.

A low-key ensemble opens the second CD with "Double Consciousness," supporting a soulful bass clarinet workout that Byron pushes beyond the upper range. Haynes restores order on "The Talented Tenth" until Coleman burns through, then Harris joins for a brief duet. "Seldom a Word," turns a gospel page with Harris and McBee testifying. McBee's deep arco cues more brilliance from Bluiett, who continues a capella into "TestiMoan Tro 2."

"TestiMoan Tro 3" belongs to Coleman, who makes it a lyrical stroll. His lovely variations segue into "City of a Hundred Hills," a swing ensemble piece driven by Hart and McBee's deceptively light touch. Hugh Ragin takes over with scorching brass, then hands off to McBee's popping dextrous bass. Harris provides a thoughtful coda with plunger mute on "A Tale Twice Told."

While Harris has been in creative overdrive for years, Souls Within the Veil argues strongly for more thorough documentation of this artist's vision.


Track Listing: Veil; Color Line; Strange Land of Shadows; Second Sight; TestiMoan Tro 1; Bone of the Bone & Flesh of the Flesh; Double Consciousness; Talented Tenth; Seldom a Word; TestiMoan Tro 2; More Ancient Than Words; TestiMoan Tro 3; City of a Hundred Hills; Tale Twice Told.

Personnel: Craig Harris: trombone, didjeridoo; Kahil El'Zabar: percussion; Graham Haynes: cornet; Billy Hart: drums; Oliver Lake, Steve Coleman: alto saxophone; Cecil McBeebass; Hugh Ragin: trumpet; Hamiet Bluiett: baritone saxophone; Don Byron: clarinet.

Title: Souls Within the Veil | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Aquastra


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Imaginist" CD/LP/Track Review Imaginist
by Mike Jacobs
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Janus" CD/LP/Track Review Janus
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 1, 2016
Read "Komorebi" CD/LP/Track Review Komorebi
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 17, 2016
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by John Sharpe
Published: March 18, 2017
Read "Original Demos" CD/LP/Track Review Original Demos
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: June 8, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.