Treme man Donald Harrison shines on 'This is Jazz'
Donald Harrison, 'This is Jazz' (Half Note)
Harrison, who appeared in Seattle last week with the "Treme" TV road show, has forged a reputation as a player with strong New Orleans roots. But his range is wider than that, as this all-star trio with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Cobham, an on-again, off-again collaboration going some five years now, shows in spades.
The fat-toned alto-sax man bites off short, spurting phrases that recall Ornette Coleman on the Miles Davis classic "Seven Steps to Heaven," offering thoughts raw and real. His fleet opening on the classic ballad, "I Can't Get Started," is pure Charlie Parker, but Harrison bends and twists and chuffs in a way that is all his own.
Carter takes a tour de force solo on, of all things, "You Are My Sunshine," turning a folk song into burnished jazz. The album climaxes with "Treme Swagger," with Cobham — unusually restrained throughout — digging into a slick street beat. The album was recorded live in New York at the Blue Note; you can feel these three musicians feeling each other.
Seattle Times jazz critic
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