Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Live at Otter Crest
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Recorded in 1981 in Oregon, this release of never before released live recording finds powerhouse jazz/blues pianist Gene Harris in top form. Features John Heard on bass and Jimmie Smith on drums. This Concord Records re... more »
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Recorded in 1981 in Oregon, this release of never before released live recording finds powerhouse jazz/blues pianist Gene Harris in top form. Features John Heard on bass and Jimmie Smith on drums. This Concord Records release has 6 tracks including 'Sweet Lorraine' and 'Cute'.
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Gone But Not Forgotten
Tom Schusterbauer | West Bloomfield, Michigan United States | 09/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The blessing of cd's is that every once in a while some really special stuff emerges, long buried in a vault somewhere, perhaps not deemed fit for vinyl or tape. The curse, of course, is that companies are now able to resurrect some genuine drek and push it on an unsuspecting public--hungry for more Miles, more Coltrane, more Getz, etc.Gene Harris' Live at Otter Crest is buried treasure. Somehow this artist never quite got his due, laboring in the shadows cast by McCoy Tyner, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, even the wonderful Red Garland. But Gene Harris was (and is) the real deal. His robust playing is drenched in blues, gospel, some swing, and, of course, soul. You can hardly go wrong by dipping anywhere into Concord's catalogue of Harris' recordings.But Otter Crest is something special. Harris languished for years in semi-retirement, and this cd catches him just before he
came back with a vengeance. These cuts are not timid babysteps back into jazz. No, Harris, along with Jimmie Smnith on drums and John Heard on bass, explodes back onto the scene. He's tender--but not mushy--on "My Foolish Heart," swinging on "Shiny Stockings," and rolls out the blues on "A Little Blues There."Oh, and with his 11-plus minute treatment of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" Harris seems to have more than jazz on his mind. Yes, this cut swings, but this song carries its own subtext, and Harris and his audience seem more than aware of it.Almost every time you see a picture of Harris--with The Three Sounds, with his trio with Ray Brown, or with any group that he fronted--the man seems to be smiling. And why not? Gene Harris had a great first act, a decade-long intermission, and then an exhilarating second act.Miss him? Of course. But I can always picture that smile. And of the dozen or so recordings of his in my collection--well, every one makes me smile. And makes me grateful for the great man."
"Live at Otter Crest" by Gene Harris
vbref | Doylestown, PA, United States | 05/03/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For anyone thirsty for more un-rehashed Gene Harris, who sadly passed away in January 2000, this 1981 live performance will be welcome! The five standards are done with his usual originality, and the one original piece, "A Little Blues There", is long (11-1/2 minutes) and full of Gene's trademark phrasing. His version of the old standard "Sweet Lorraine" has one of the most technically alive (and at the same time melodic) endings since Erroll Garner ..... the dynamics (and the obvious physical strength necessary to carry it off) which were Gene's forté are especially evident in that section. "Battle Hymn of the Republic" is different enough from the Three Sounds and the '90s versions to show the bridge between the Age of the Trio ('50s and '60s) and the "post-retirement" Gene Harris, brought back by Ray Brown in the late '80s. I like this "bridge" trio just fine. On the negative side, the quality of the recording leaves a little to be desired, but, then again, it WAS 1981, and it WAS live. His drummer is a little too predominant at times (aren't all drummers if you let 'em?), but I like him nonetheless. Please start bugging Concord Records to find some more previously unreleased Gene Harris stuff in their archives - there has to be more!"
The joy of Gene Harris
John H. Pendley | the beautiful mountains of north Georgia | 08/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As I've grown in my appreciation of music, I've found that my interest in performers' techniques has faded. At the same time, my love of the performer's ability to impart a truly human experience has multiplied. As it happens, Live at Otter Creek shows Gene Harris to be a technician with major league chops who has a ball on stage, infecting all around him. Right from the start, his side men know it's a special night; the joy spreads to the audience, a joy they can hardly contain; the entire evening is so full of ebullience that I can't imagine anyone who hears this music controlling the urge to bounce up and down and break out in laughter-or tears
Let's take "Sweet Loraine" as an example. It's the opening number. Harris begins it in an easy lope, slowly turns up the heat, and builds the tension to the point that one is ready to bolt--then releases it with a large hearted, delighted laugh. He has us, and he knows it.
It's in "A Little Blues Here," a Harris original, that things really heat up. He blazes through eleven incendiary choruses, igniting some pretty hot stuff from John Heard on bass, and some very hot stuff from Jimmie Smith on drums. Throughout these last two solos, the audience can't keep quiet, and at the end, there is general bedlam. Me? I'm about to jump out of my chair.
By the way, as if to satisfy those who haven't been knocked out by his technique all night long, Harris tosses off "Cute" as an encore. It's a jaw-dropping tour-de-force, but it's still the passion that matters the most.
There's more, of course, and I wish I'd been there. That's what an album like this one does for me. It offers me the sense of an experience, all because of the exceptional and joyous talent of Gene Harris. I heard him a few months before his death, at Spivey Hall, just outside of Atlanta. He played with less vigor than in this album but with no less joy. He smiled continuously. After the show, he was very weak and remained seated as he greeted guests. Many of his fires were banked, but there was no putting them out--not that night, anyway."