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Barry Harris
The First Time Ever,  Alfa Jazz/Evidence CD ECD 22192-2, 1997

 True jazz original

I first remember hearing Harris on Lee Morgan’s  Sidewinder, a classic mid-60’s soul jazz concoction. He didn’t get much solo space on the title cut, but he knocked me out on "Totem Pole." How could anyone be so smooth and so funky? His solos sounded like Sean Connery strolling through a James Bond movie. On  The First Time Ever, that urbane bluesiness is still there. Just listen to "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes." Even though Harris doesn’t seem to be much of an extrovert and his manner is dry at times, he’s an astonishing musician with a great feeling for the music.

The other pleasure of this CD is hearing George Mraz on bass, who gets at least one chorus on every song. His depth and richness are a perfect counterweight to Harris’ brilliance.  The First Time Ever isn’t a gem–it’s a piece of jewelry. Each phrase, each transition, each change is a little gem and they’re all strung together with grace and style. – Pete Kelly

 Glenn Brooks says... Recorded to perfection by Rudy Van Gelder. Fine and truly original stuff.

Copyright © 1999 Peppercorn Press. All rights reserved.