Richard Harris: Club Havana
Richard Harris (flugelhorn)
Club Havana (Self-Produced)
Richard Harris (flugelhorn),
Mark Kieswetter (electric piano), Ben Jansson (tenor sax), Rodney Rich (guitar), Kurt Krahnke (bass), Scott Kretzer (drums, percussion).
Recorded: Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2009
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Harris was motivated to self-produce his first album as leader after being diagnosed in 2007 with amyloidosis, a rare and incurable disease. He calls the result “intimate jazz” that “creates a mood of warmth and romance.” While Harris hardly improvises (unlike his sidemen), except for an occasional fleeting embellishment, his rich sound and heartfelt expressiveness help generate appealing interpretations of mostly ballad standards, as well as three of his own finely crafted originals. A number of selections are dedicated to “trumpet greats” such as Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, and Freddie Hubbard.
His “Club Havana” is perhaps the most unfettered track on the CD. Harris's lustrous flugelhorn plays the dancing theme over an infectious Latin pulse. Jansson's tenor solo flows with an acutely lyrical, Getz-like sensibility. Kieswetter delivers skillfully executed accompaniment on electric piano, in addition to a lilting and assured solo. Harris caresses the melody once again before the surprise appearance of a boppish vamp right out of Bird on 52nd Street, a perfect finishing touch to this well-arranged performance.
Reviewer: Scott Albin