Barry Harris - Magnificent!

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1999 CD reissue.

From the opening tour de force reading of Coleman Hawkins' "Bean and the Boys" to the closing performance of Charlie Parker's "Dexterity," Magnificent brilliantly illustrates Barry Harris' unique rapport with the bop piano tradition. Absolutely unlike the enervating, curatorial approach of the neo-con movement, Harris deals with the tradition as a continuum, perpetually rejuvenating and extending it.

Along with the opening and closing tracks, the classics on this 1969 date include a caressing exploration of "These Foolish Things" and a dazzling treatment of "Ah-Leu-Cha." On the latter, Harris deftly finesses the counterpoint that was handled between Charlie Parker and Miles Davis on the original 1948 Savoy recording. Magnificent's classics meld seamlessly with the Harris originals. His "You Sweet and Fancy Lady" is in a sly, soulful Bobby Timmons style. "Rouge" (not the John Lewis tune) is a poignant ballad with muscle, not mush, at its heart. "Just Open Your Heart" begins Monk-ish, then modulates to statements that are more purely Harris'. "Sun Dance" (also not the John Lewis tune) is a contemporary Latin-flavored number.

Harris, whose performances here reveal new subtleties with each listening, is superbly supported by bassist Ron Carter and drummer Leroy Williams. Both play their roles fairly straight, although Williams adds some interesting oblique accents, while Carter augments the dead-on precision of his walking style with harmonic spice, knowing use of space, double stops, and strummed passages.

Jim Todd ~ AllMusicGuide


SKU 02521870262
Barcode # 02521870262
Brand OJC / Prestige

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