Harvey Mason's motto on With All My Heart seems to be "The one who plays drums in a jazz trio with the most bad-ass pianists and bassists wins. Arguably, that can be also stated of his entire career, as he has played and recorded with a mind-numbing amount of artists through various historical periods and musical styles. The lengthy and illustrious development of the quintessential small jazz group is definitely boosted by this recording.
The premise of the production was quite simple: Mason endeavoring to pair several of his favorite pianists and bassists to record material that is largely familiar to both musicians and the average jazz audience, as well as suited to the respective instrumentalists involved. With the exception of bassists Dave Carpenter, who performs on "If I Should Lose You and "Speak Like a Child, and Ron Carter, who executes on three compositions, the only common thread of the recording is the dexterous and versatile drumming of the leader. Blessedly, Mason also decided to write the liner noteshence the prospect of knowing what he had in mind for each super-trio, their respective interpretations, and their raison d'être.
"If I Should Lose You, interpreted by Chick Corea, Carpenter, and Mason, is a first and only take. It's emblematic of the best this project, the traditional jazz trio, and this type of music has to offer. Herein the devil isn't only in the details, even though they tell a story by themselves. The cymbal ride, Carpenter's in-and-out march (he seems to vanish while being ever more present), and Corea's elegant and robust lyricism are some particulars worth mentioning. But those are minutiae within a dreamily tight and expressive cohesiveness that closes with an understated driven coda.
Hank Jones and George Mraz join the leader in "Tess. Jones opens by himself and takes immediate ownership of this number. Mason does quite a bit with it, without intruding one bit as Mraz lays it heavy yet unruffled before following Jones for a couple of bars. It is finger lickin' good!
Track Listing: Bernie's Tune; If I Should Lose You; So Near, So Far; Swamp Fire; When Smoke Gets in Your
Eyes; Hindsight; Dindi; Without a Song; One Morning in May; Speak Like a Child; Tess.
Personnel: Monty Alexander (4), Herbie Hancock (10), Fred Hersch (3), Hank Jones (11), Cedar Walton
(6), Kenny Barron (1), Chick Corea (2), Dave Grusin (9), Mulgrew Miller (8), Brad Mehldau
(7), Bob James (5): piano. Dave Carpenter (2,10), Eddie Gomez (3), George Mraz (11),
Charnett Moffett (4), Larry Grenadier (7), Charlie Haden (5), Ron Carter (1,6,8): bass.
Harvey Mason, Sr.: drums
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.