177

Donald Harrison: This Is Jazz

Greg Simmons By

Sign in to view read count
Donald Harrison: This Is Jazz Saxophonist Donald Harrison's name is writ large on the cover of This Is Jazz, but the album is a collaborative trio in every sense. After all, playing with legendary bassist Ron Carter and drummer extraordinaire Billy Cobham could never be equated with simply hiring sidemen. Recorded live at New York's Blue Note, the six tracks on this album take post- bop expansion to exemplary heights and keep it there for the duration.

Harrison has a tight but wandering presence on alto. He drifts off into almost spacey places as he improvises, with peculiar trills and off-key runs, but in doing so he stays fairly close to the beats and, ultimately, the melodies as well. He does a masterful job of engaging in serious explorations without dissolving the framework of the songs.

Carter, with five decades of professional experience and an unparalleled list of cohorts, can play anywhere he wants, for as long as he wants, and he takes full advantage of his seniority. This Is Jazz shows him not only as a great rhythm bassist, but also as an exceptional soloist. He's always rock-solid behind Harrison, but really shines in his solo improvisations, bouncing around against the drums, or, in the case of "You Are My Sunshine," simply playing the whole song by himself. Part of the thrill can be credited to recording engineer Steve Remote of Aurasonic, Ltd. who captures the woodiness, vibrations and scale of the acoustic bass, instead of just low-note tones.

The drums are the most understated element of the trio, but the skins are also where the album reveals its deepest subtlety. Cobham is an elegant drummer, with stick work that is supportive and unerringly tasteful, but also quietly complex. Seemingly content in the rhythm role, Cobham doesn't take a solo until the fourth track, Victor Feldman/Miles Davis' "Seven Steps To Heaven," and even then his statement is a tightly considered against the composition. Cobham's drumming reveals class and an attention to detail that should be studied and emulated.

This record features three masters showing all the world how this music is really played. Combining a first-rate set list, equal measures of exceptional soloing and ensemble playing, and an energy that should be bottled, This is Jazz truly lives up to its name.


Track Listing: Cut & Paste; MSRP; You Are My Sunshine; Seven Steps To Heaven; I Can't Get Started; Treme Swagger.

Personnel: Donald Harrison: alto saxophone; Ron Carter: bass; Billy Cobham: drums.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Half Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read A Dark and Stormy Day CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Pocono Git-Down CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Rímur CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Schönbrunn CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "Whirlwind" CD/LP/Track Review Whirlwind
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 24, 2016
Read "Jim Crow's Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Jim Crow's Tears
by James Nadal
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "True Flight" CD/LP/Track Review True Flight
by James Nadal
Published: May 3, 2016
Read "Intuitus" CD/LP/Track Review Intuitus
by John Eyles
Published: April 23, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by John Sharpe
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Dream Maps" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Maps
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!