All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

177

Donald Harrison: This Is Jazz

Greg Simmons By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: This Is Jazz | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Half Note Records

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Twerk It

Twerk It

Donald Harrison
The Survivor

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
This Is Jazz

This Is Jazz

Half Note Records
2011

buy
 

Esperanza

abop tv
2009

buy
The Chosen

The Chosen

Nagel Heyer Records
2009

buy
The Survivor

The Survivor

Nagel Heyer Records
2007

buy
Free Style

Free Style

Nagel Heyer Records
2005

buy
Heroes

Heroes

Nagel Heyer Records
2004

buy

Related Articles

Read Out in the Open CD/LP/Track Review
Out in the Open
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Contemporary Chaos Practices CD/LP/Track Review
Contemporary Chaos Practices
by Don Phipps
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Changed Beings CD/LP/Track Review
Changed Beings
by Chris May
Published: November 16, 2018
Read We Must Mustn't We CD/LP/Track Review
We Must Mustn't We
by John Sharpe
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You. CD/LP/Track Review
Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One...
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 16, 2018
Read Always Forward CD/LP/Track Review
Always Forward
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 15, 2018
Read "Restroy" CD/LP/Track Review Restroy
by James Fleming
Published: July 10, 2018
Read "Celebrating William Parker at 65" CD/LP/Track Review Celebrating William Parker at 65
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 14, 2017
Read "Trollskogen" CD/LP/Track Review Trollskogen
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Your Queen Is A Reptile" CD/LP/Track Review Your Queen Is A Reptile
by Chris May
Published: February 21, 2018
Read "Blues and Boogie Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review Blues and Boogie Vol. 1
by Doug Collette
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Ay  Que Boogaloo!" CD/LP/Track Review Ay Que Boogaloo!
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 12, 2018