Joel Harrison: In Memoriam: Dana Brayton


In Memoriam: Dana Brayton


Joel Harrison (guitar)


The Wheel (Innova 220)

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Joel Harrison (guitar),

Ralph Alessi (trumpet/flugelhorn), David Binney (alto sax), Todd Reynolds, Chris Howes (violins), Caleb Burhans (viola), Wendy Sutter (cello), Lindsey Horner (bass), Dan Weiss (drums)


Composed by Joel Harrison


Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, February 2008


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Guitarist Joel Harrison, aided by grant money, composed and recorded a suite and one additional tune for The Wheel. The suite is string-heavy and multilayered. His goal was to combine the properties of jazz improvisation inside the framework of a tightly constructed, written-out composition. Imagine Jean-Luc Ponty, Jerry Goodman and Yehudi Menuhin reading charts and trading-off visual cues. It is a serious piece of work deserving attention. The additional cut is a tribute to Harrison's friend, the late composer Dana Brayton.

The introductory passage serves as a formed and ordered requiem. Lindsey Horner's acoustic bass invites individual eulogies. The music becomes free in the jazz sense as each instrumentalist is given a moment to talk. Harrison joins in with a plaintive electric guitar. The musicians (mourners) join and gain strength from each other. They produce a strong tribute of ever-building power. The music always lives on.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky


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