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Monty Alexander: "I was playing what I liked. It was an era [1980s] when jazz still had that 'street corner' vitality to it." - (DownBeat March 2021)

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12,535 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 12 years ago. 254 of them this year alone and, so far, 105 this month (Feb. 24).

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

KSTV: Alec Harper Trio playback Sonny Rollins Trio - Jan. 19

Alec Harper (tenor sax); Will Sach (bass); Will Cleasby (drums).

(Screenshots by Ken Drew)

These guys had some big boots to fill and any lesser musicians would have filled their boots at the prospect! Fortunately, Smitty's don't have any lesser musicians on their roster and tonight's session was tops.

Selecting their repertoire from Rollins' groundbreaking album, A Night at the Village Vanguard, the three musicians put their own individual stamp on the tunes recreating the mood of that night back in 1957 without loss of face. In fact, bearing in mind that Sonny was playing to an actual audience at the Greenwich Village club as opposed to tonight's virtual viewers, it speaks volumes that they could create such a splendid session.

Since these lockdown sessions began, Alec Harper has, in my eyes, increased in stature with every one of them. Cleasby is fast becoming the one they all have to catch whilst Sach had the hardest job of all tonight - that of ensuring Harper didn't stray too far from the harmonic framework. He succeeded and Harper didn't stray beyond the bounds although he tried his hardest!

A look at the set list is proof that you don't need to write original tunes with pretentious titles to produce great jazz. A player like Rollins could make the most mundane tune a jazz concerto. Harper would appear to have similar qualities.

If I had to pick one number from tonight or from the original album it would have to be Body and Soul. Both versions are tremendous.

Yet another great show on KSTV - beats ITV hands down!

Lance

St. Thomas; I've Told Every Little Star; A Night in Tunisia: I Can't Get Started; I've Got You Under my Skin; I'm an Old Cowhand*; That Old Devil Moon; Body and Soul; Get Happy.

* From Way Out West.

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