Search - Billy Harper :: Somalia

Billy Harper
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Billy Harper
Title: Somalia
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Evidence
Original Release Date: 12/13/1995
Re-Release Date: 11/30/1995
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Modern Postbebop, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 730182213324

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CD Reviews

A tremendous album
N. Dorward | Toronto, ON Canada | 12/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first heard this one when it turned up in the new releases bin at a radio station where I ran a jazz show; it ended up getting a lot of airplay. It's been years since then; I recently got around to purchasing my own copy of it & it sounds as good as I remembered. Billy Harper has never quite got his due among jazz fans despite paying dues in virtually every important band of his timeframe--he's best known for his work with Gil Evans, contributing two of the best-known numbers to Evans' book ("Priestess" & "Thoroughbred"); but he's also been in the bands of Art Blakey, Mel Lewis & Thad Jones, Max Roach & Randy Weston....among others! He's got an iron-hard tone which owes a debt to Coltrane but actually owes just as much to his Texas roots: he can sound a bit like a mix of both Booker Ervin & Pharoah Sanders. There's a phenomenal intensity & passion to everything he does, with a deep spirituality which is very much in the vein of Coltrane & Sanders._Somalia_ is interesting for its expansion of the rhythm section to incorporate paired drummers, working in tandem to create a kind of pummeling rhythm that is clearly influenced by Coltrane's experiment with a double-drummer setup on _Meditations_ but also suggests the heaviness of rock & funk. The impact of the disc is quite extraordinary (& helped by the excellent studio sound). The powerful "Thy Will Be Done" takes up almost 22 minutes of the album, & must be considered its centrepiece; but there's nothing on here which doesn't arrest the attention, right down to the brief reprise of "Quest" at the end, now shifted into a composite 3/4 time. The band is mostly entirely unheralded musicians--Harper's working band--& they play with the kind of unity of purpose that's needed to bring the odd rhythmic setup off without disaster. The other horn on the disc is the fine trumpeter Eddie Henderson, like Harper a player who's never quite gotten his due despite his sterling work for a number of leaders (such as Herbie Hancock).A really fine album: do give it a try. It's a great pity that Harper isn't more regularly seen in the recording studio. Last time I saw an article on him, a few years back, he was still making ends meet by driving a taxicab, & preparing for his annual run in the NY Marathon. What's he doing lately? Like other players of his generation (John Stubblefield comes to mind too) his recorded legacy is much smaller than it ought to be."
Great, soulful music
N. Dorward | 02/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I knew of Billy Harper because he wrote some of the best tunes in the Gil Evans reprtoire (like Priestess, Cry Of Hunger). I was not disappointed. The same soulfulness fills the melodies and the same spiritual intensity drives the solos. This is a excellent neo-Coltrane music."
The cd "Somalia"was good body of music.
Alex | 12/09/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Sonran-Bushi on the Denon label is the stongest playing i've heard by mr.Harper it's a must have. Chanting which Billy does on the opening track of "Somalia"is very effective (shades ofLeon Thomas) but when the listener hears the Chantin/singing on Sonran-Bushi it's awesome.Mr. Harper extended cascading solos are sosoulful."