Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Barry Harris – Chasin’ the Bird (OJC, 1962)

Barry Harris is someone who doesn’t seem to garner a lot of attention, despite being an excellent bebop pianist and a semi-legend as a player and a teacher in his hometown of Detroit. He came of age during the heyday of bebop and the touchstones of his style are the masters of that era – Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. I saw Harris perform a solo concert several years ago and he was wonderful in performance, playing blues, bop and ballads with equal pleasure.

If you love bebop piano, this is definitely a record to check out, Harris plays mostly Parker’s music or songs associated with the man with a few originals thrown in, joined by Bob Cranshaw on bass and Clifford Jarvis on drums. It has a wonderful mix of tempos from storming bebop like the title track to gentle ballads, particularly a moody version of Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight."

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