Barry Harris: All God's Chillun Got Rhythm


All God's Chillun Got Rhythm


Barry Harris (piano)


Live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Volume Twelve (Concord 4476)

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Barry Harris (piano).

Composed by Walter Jurmann, Gus Kahn & Bronis?aw Kaper


Recorded: live at Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, CA, March 12, 1990


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

A vital keeper of the bebop flame both as pianist and esteemed educator, Barry Harris has always engendered great respect for his playing, if not the worshipful awe that the flashier Bud Powell or Phineas Newborn Jr. garnered during their all-to-short peak periods. Harris interprets bebop in a style that is thoughtful, crisp and confidently self-contained, similar his fellow Detroiters Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan.

Listening to Harris perform unaccompanied at the intimate and acoustically ideal Maybeck Recital Hall, one can focus on his artistry without distraction in probably his first recorded solo recital since Listen to Barry Harris (1960). Harris spent much time with Thelonious Monk at the home of Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, and introduces "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" by saying, "I have a special tape of Monk, and the way Monk played 'All God's Chillun Got Rhythm' ... I'm gonna start it out like that and then I'm gonna play it fast." Maybe not as fast as Powell played this tune with Sonny Stitt in 1949 (who could?), but Harris does provide plenty of sizzle after the inventive and knowing Monkish intro. Without the safety net of a bassist and a drummer, Harris daringly goes all out, creating on the fly, lithe and flowing. His generous left-hand punctuations are in complete harmony with his fleet and lucid extended runs, and are perhaps even more pronounced than they would have been in a group setting. While Harris borrows from Powell's 1949 solo, overall this is a shining example of bebop piano at its sophisticated and communicative best.

Reviewer: Scott Albin

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