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Gene Harris is one of the most talented and dynamic jazz players in the world. Throughout his life, through all the triumphs and tragedies, Gene always was able to "make a piano stand up and talk."
Based on previously unreleased tapes provided by his widow Janie Harris, Live in London is also the only available recording of Harris in action with his British quartet. This group performed together exclusively in the U.K., where hometown audience support and remarkable musicianship elevated their performances to match standards set by Harris's previous work. Most of these tunes have never been recorded by Harris before and none have been previously recorded in quartet ensemble.
“The smiles and love were as permanent as the music was brilliant… This recording is Gene Harris at his absolute best” – Janie Harris
"His bluesiness and huge sense of swing defy you to sit still."
This review is of: Live In London
Although this recording was just recently released, it captures Gene Harris at the peak of his powers, live before an enthusiastic audience in London.
…Along with Gene we hear Jim Mullen, guitar (and a great guitar player he is), Andrew Cleyndert, bass and the well-known Martin Drew on drums, who was "Oscar's Choice" for many, many years.
Why this music was not issued before is a mystery, because it's just great!
The opening "There is no greater love" sets the mood just right: hard swinging, with that soul and gospel roots in his playing, that was typical for Gene Harris.
I am delighted that this recording is something of "the way he really played" (to borrow from an album title of Oscar Peterson), because there are very long tracks on it, so we are able to listen to what Gene could really do with a tune.
The opener is over 13 minutes, the next track "Blue Monk" over 11 minutes and a very fine "In a mellow tone" is over 15 minutes.
Although Gene was known and famous for his swing and soul, this set brings us beautiful moments with "My funny Valentine" and a very unusual version of Garner's "Misty". (9 minutes)
The closer of this very, happy, swinging concert is (what else?) Gene's own "Blues Closer".
This album makes it once more very clear what great loss Gene's passing was for jazz.
Of course this is an album of love as is his wife Janie Harris' book.
Arnold van Kampen, jazz critic
|No Greater Love|
|My Funny Valentine|
|In a Mellow Tone|