Donald Harrison - alto saxophone
Glenn Patscha - piano
Vicente Archer - bass / John Lamkin - drums
Donald Harrison - alto saxophone / Ron Carter - bass / Billy Cobham - drums
01 Hand Jive
02 Free Style
03 New Hope
04 Get Your Swerve
05 So What
06 Rock Song
07 Well You Needn’t
08 Iko Iko
09 Free To Be
10 Heroes (bonus track)
11 Candlelight (bonus track)
Recorded on December 1 and 2, 2002 at Avatar studios, New York City, by Jim Anderson.
Donald Harrison, who gained his initial recognition in the 1980s when he was with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and co-led a band with Terence Blanchard, has continued growing and evolving ever since that time. Though underrated, he is currently at the peak of his powers. With this fabulous recording - his third album for Nagel Heyer - Harrison shows one more time that he is a superior post-bop improviser with a sound of his own.
This session is mostly a trio outing with Vicente Archer (bass) and John Lamkin (drums) joining Donald Harrison. On three tracks pianist Glenn Patscha strengthens the band. The music stands on its own as highly original and progressive. The trio/quartet setting gives Harrison ample room for his solo explorations. He reveals a semi-free approach, but one that remains firmly rooted in melody and harmony. He expands and deepens themes rather than obliterating them, allowing one to truly experience the story each tune is trying to tell. Most tracks are originals, but a couple of standards are exceptional.
Harrison is performing funk pieces, a calypso, Miles Davis’ ‘So What’, a rock song and a Thelonious Monk tune (‘Well You Needn't’) among others in spirited fashion with pianist, bassist and drummer. Harrison obviously felt that these musicians would provide the perfect combination of groove, freedom and exploration. The result is a mainstream set that purposefully raises the bar for Harrison, forcing him to think outside the box and deliver one of his most essential recordings. This album is definitely one of my Top Ten CDs of 2004.
What the critics say about Donald’s latest recording ‘Heroes’:
“This CD is one of Donald Harrison's most rewarding showcases to date and is highly recommended.”
- Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
‘Audiophile CD of the Month’ - Stereoplay 6/2004
“On ‘Heroes’, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison evokes masters and idols, unrolling skeins of subtly internalized ideas. Everywhere Harrison lilts his fire-bright wit and fertile facility, goaded by bassist Ron Carter and drummer Billy Cobham’s intricate melodicism.”
- Fred Bouchard, Down Beat (4 stars)