Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Live-On Tour in the Far East
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Preaching the gospel
greg taylor | Portland, Oregon United States | 05/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is a recording of an April, 1991 concert in Pusan, Korea. As the title implies there are other CDs from that same tour. Teemu Maki has a fine review of Vol. 2 on Amazon.
The personnel are Billy Harper on tenor, Dr. Eddie Henderson (he is a practising psychiatrist!) on trumpet, Francesca Tanksley on piano, Louie Spears on bass and Newman T. Baker on the drums.
Harper contributed four of the compositions, Tanksley is the composer of Dance In The Question and John Coltrane wrote Countdown.
My first point. This group has stuck together for a very long time. On the latest Harper CD that I know of, Soul of an Angel, everyone except Spears is still playing in the group. There are very few jazz groups these days that stay together that long. You can hear it.
Secondly, there is a little too much tendency to write Harper and his groups off as a Coltrane acolytes. He was influenced by Trane to be sure. Tanksley obviously has studied Tyner from the classic quartet days. But Harper's tone is unique and his compositional and improvisational styles are his own (and different from Trane's).
Here is a mental test for this. Imagine another group playing a composition by Trane and one by Harper. I don't think anyone familiar with both musicians would have much trouble guessing which was which. And I know no one would have any trouble distinguishing their actual playing.
By, the time of this recording, Tanksley had long since developed her own approach within the powerful left hand style of Tyner. There are times on these recordings when I listen to the sheer density of her improvisations and marvel at how she can clearly define and elaborate so much melodic material our of her block chords and her changing rhthyms.
Henderson is an equal delight. I believe that it was his work with this group that led to his fine sequence of releases in the mid-nineties. Both he and Harper are able to construct long, compelling and deeply felt soli from this material. My title is to the point. Billy Harper started his musical path in a church and in a very real sense he has never left. He and his cohorts are preachers and they can do no other then to testify when they play. This is very fine, very modern hard modal bop of the highest order. My thanks to Steeplechase for these fine recordings and to
Teemu Maki for reminding me to listen to them.