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Ronnie Laws showed considerable promise on his early albums of the mid-1970s, but in the 80s and 90s, the tenor & soprano saxman often wasted his improvisatory skills on overproduced, vapid NAC and lightweight "smooth jazz" fluff. A welcome return to his jazz/funk and "soul jazz" roots, Tribute To The Legendary Eddie Harris is Laws' strongest release since 1976's Fever.
Paying tribute to the late Chi-Town sax hero, Laws gives himself plenty of room to blow on passionate, arresting interpretations of such Harris classics as "Freedom Jazz Dance," "Listen Here" and "Cold Duck." Listeners who fondly remember Laws' soulful and gritty blowing on Pressure Sensitive (1975) and Fever will be elated to hear the Texan letting loose once again.
Clocking in at less than 40 minutes, this CD is undeniably chintzy. But even so, hearing Laws making use of his abundant talents instead of shamelessly wasting them is cause for celebration.
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.