Joel Harrison: Movement 2: Blues Circle

Track

Movement 2: Blues Circle

Artist

Joel Harrison (composer, guitar)

CD

The Wheel (Innova 220)

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Musicians:

Joel Harrison (composer, 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)

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Composed by Joel Harrison

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Recorded: Brooklyn, NY, February 9-10, 2008

Albumcoverjoelharrison-thewheel

Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

Guitarist/composer Joel Harrison has successfully integrated the sounds of strings, brass and reeds into a completely original example of the jazz and classical hybrid that Gunther Schuller dubbed Third Stream. Harrison's work as a guitarist is overshadowed on this offering, as his extraordinary compositional skills rise front and center. This 5-movement suite is hard to separate into its parts because it flows so well together in a cohesive and carefully orchestrated celebration. Explaining in the liner notes that his music incorporates "Appalachian, African and modern classical sensibilities," Harrison has here captured the best of these worlds. In Movement 2: "Blues Circle," he uses pizzicato stings, picked guitar and burnished brass and reeds to convey his message. Alessi's beautiful flugelhorn work is especially noteworthy on the blues break. The strings build tension in a climbing progression that leads to a succinct break back to pizzicato strings and a distinctly Appalachian-inspired coda. Harrison has created a brilliant piece that could only be produced by skilled musicians with a foot in each of the jazz and classical worlds.

Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello

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