Gene Harris: Misty
Gene Harris (piano)
Gene Harris Quartet: Live in London (Resonance HCD-2001)
Gene Harris (piano),
Jim Mullen (guitar), Andrew Cleyndert (bass), Martin Drew (drums).
Composed by Erroll Garner.
Recorded: Pizza Express, London, May, 1996
Rating: 88/100 (learn more)
Gene Harris died in 2000. This recording of a 1996 live performance was released 8 years after his death with the reassurance from his loving wife that it represents Harris at his best. Janie Harris has even written a book about the great jazz pianist. That is true dedication from a wife and a music fan. Who is to argue with her?
The first thing that stands out is the recorded sound. It is vivid and crisp. You do feel like you were there amongst the clanging of forks and knives. Guitarist Mullin's sound is over-modulated at times creating some unintended distortion. But that makes things all the more real.
Harris interprets the classic "Misty" with light-fingered high-register runs executed with great speed and aplomb over the molasses-slow rhythm spilled expertly by Cleyndert and Drew. The pianist takes some solo time. His playing is flashy without any cloying showboating. The sense of the tune is clearly implanted in his brain. Mullen takes a fine solo turn only muddied a bit by that issue I mentioned before. Folks, Harris is not reinventing the wheel here. But he does make sure there is enough air in the tires for a safe and enjoyable trip and a smooth turnaround to end things.
Resonance Records claims it is "creating jazz legacies." Certainly they are speaking the truth with this recording.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky