Sunday, January 17, 2010
GENE HARRIS DOES LONDON
In 2000, you were scheduled to perform at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI. Back then, you're my all-time favorite pianist. You had two styles playing loud like a cannon, and soft like your fingers were stuffed with feathers. I spent a lot of time listening to your albums "Gene Harris at Maybeck", "Black and Blue", and "The Gene Harris Trio Plus One". I wore out three copies of the latter. So when I heard you're performing in Ann Arbor. I planned to skip work to attend the concert. The promoters canceled because you died. Of the jazz pianists I've listened to, I admired your music the most. You could make me dance one moment and cry the next.Last week, Resonance Records sent me "Another Night in London", a live album you made in Englandin 1996. The album is part of the Resonance Records Heirloom Series, which issues unreleased recordings by noted jazz musicians. Bassist Scott Lafaro album “Pieces of Jade” was the first album released. Your album was the second. Do you remember making it? You played with guitarist Jim Mullen, bassist AndrewCleyndert, and drummer Martin Drew. "Another Nights in London" is a terrific live date. It's lean. There're only six selections. Most are standards, but you give each a blues and gospel twist. On "Sweet Georgia Brown", you made the piano howl. On "Meditation", your gentle side took over. You played softly like the piano keys were silk. Listening to the album, I felt as if I were at the concert absolutely spellbound by what was happening on the bandstand.