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Bebop Spoken There

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12,393 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 112 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (Jan. 23).

Thursday, October 06, 2016

CD Review: Tom Harrison - Unfolding in Tempo

Tom Harrison (alto); Cleveland Watkiss (voice); Robert Mitchell (pno); Daniel Casimer (bs); David Lyttle (dms).
(Review by Lance).
It might be said that there is little left to say, musically, about the works of Duke Ellington other than reminiscing in tempo. Just about every aspect of the great man's work has been taken apart and reassembled by the good, the bad and the ugly. (Archie Shepp's In a Sentimental Mood being one of the uglier ones.). Fortunately, Harrison manages to negate the latter two aspects in producing his own Ducal Direction. If anything, it relates to what a Mingus plays Ellington might have sounded like - almost!
The idea of using Watkiss' voice adds to the depth of field - alto and voice blend well together, On the Sy Oliver number, The Minor Goes a Muggin' originally recorded by Duke with trombonist Tommy Dorsey's band, Watkiss scats like Cab Calloway and Harrison stretches out drawing the approval of the audience at Pizza Express before making way for Robert Mitchell to do some muggin' of his own.
Take the A Train - Watkiss reminds us, with an out and out scat solo that ticks all the boxes, that there are other first class male jazz singers around apart from Cullen, Elling and Porter.
Listen to Harrison blow - he cuts it! Which, to those of us who'd heard him at last week's Jazz Café gig with the David Lyttle Trio, is old news! Ditto David Lyttle!
Casimer walks Things Ain't etc. in, Watkiss sings and Harrison lopes around over Casimer's bass who, after Harrison has shot down a lot of better-known UK sax players, has his moment too - he takes it. Watkiss returns to bring things back to what they used to be - eventually!
Too many great moments to list them all, suffice to say it's an alternative take on the maestro's music but one I'd like to think that he'd have Loved Madly!
Take the A Train; Things Ain't What They Used to be; The Minor Goes a Muggin'; My Little Brown Book; Solitude; The Intimacy of the Blues; Warm Valley.
The all live recordings were recorded earlier this year at Soho's Pizza Express and the Cheltenham Jazz Festival.
One for the shortlist.
Available October 14 on Lyle Records.
Lance.
Bonus track - Chelsea Bridge.

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