Mercredi 17 octobre 2012 20h59


October 17, 2012To: Listings/Critics/Features
From: Jazz Promo Services
Press Contact: Jim Eigo, jim@jazzpromoservices.com


Winard Harper & Jeli Posse
To Appear at the Jazz Standard
Featuring Special Guests Delfeayo Marsalis and Frank Wess
November 13-14
Drummer Winard Harper and his newest band Jeli Posse will celebrate the release of their new CD “Coexist” at New York’s celebrated Jazz Standard on Tuesday, November 13, and Wednesday, November 14.Jeli Posse consists of vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, trumpeter Bruce Harris, horn players Jonathan Beshay and Jovan Alexander, pianists Roy Asaf and Tadataka Unno, bassist Stephen Porter and percussionist Alioune Faye.  Special guests include acclaimed reedman Frank Wess and New Orleans trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis.

Winard Harper is considered one of the most exciting and innovative drummers in jazz, leading a group that mixes bebop with African and Caribbean rhythms. Equally at home with sticks, brushes or mallets, Harper is both a gifted soloist and rock-solid bandleader, and he has surrounded himself with outstanding young musicians.  Harper is best known to jazz audiences around the world not only for his work with The Harper Brothers Quintet, but also as the drummer for Dr. Billy Taylor and the great Betty Carter.

The Jazz Standard is located at 116 East 27th Street in New York City. Shows are at 7:30 and 9:30 with late shows on Friday and Saturday. For reservations, call 212-576-2232 or visit www.winardharper.com.

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Editor’s Note: Please credit to Richard Galosy for Winard Harper photograph. For additional photos or to arrange interviews with Mr. Harper, contact Don Jay Smith at 908-832-1020 or don@lksassociates.com.

The city of Baltimore is known for many things, not least of which is jazz wizards Bill Frisell, Billie Holiday, Gary Bartz, and drummer composer, bandleader, and educator Winard Harper. With trumpeter-brother Philip, Winard Harper co-led the Harper Brothers, one of the most successful—artistically and popularity-wise—straight-ahead, hard-boppin’ jazz bands from 1988 through to its 1993 dissolution. Like Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers before them, the Harper Brothers were a great incubator of talent, with such players as Stephen Scott, Javon Jackson, and Walter Blanding passing through the ranks. As all good things must, the Harper Brothers’ band came to a parting of the ways, laying the groundwork (not so ironically) to even better things.

Winard Harper began playing drums at age five—by seven, he was playing in his brother Danny’s R&B combo. That aside, Winard Harper honed his craft accompanying Dexter Gordon (at the tender age of 20), James Clay, Houston Person, Mark Murphy, and Betty Carter, the latter for a four-year tenure. Harper brings the sum total of these experiences—and more—to his latest venture, the band he has dubbed the Jeli Posse. Jeli (djeli or djéli in French spelling) is another name for griot, a mobile/wandering combination of storyteller, historian, poet, and musician. (One could consider them the African counterpart to the bards of the British Isles.) Winard sees this band as an extension of that tradition: “Jazz has always been social commentary and expression,” he says. Coexist embodies the role of the jeli—history, storytelling, poetry, and musicianship practically jump out of the speakers (or earphones, for the ipod generation). The very concept of Coexist also relates to the performers. “[The Jeli Posse] represent different ethnic, religious, and social backgrounds transcending differences for a common cause.”

With a cursory listen, Coexist might seem to be more of the classic hard bop album—the “Young Lions” of the 1980s were notorious for. (Soprano sax icon Steve Lacy referred to them as “reboppers.”) The opening track “Something Special,” with its engaging, blue-sharp melodic head, earnest swing, and surging, simmering, swinging, solos, wouldn’t sound out of place on an early ‘60s Blue Note session helmed by Blakey, Horace Silver, or Freddie Hubbard. But Harper and Jeli Posse aren’t merely going for the “style” or “sound” of the classic Blue Note era, but its essence. The pensive “Ummah” finds Harper playing African mallet instrument the balaphone—this track distills the sweet ache of yearning, but without rage or impatience, but rather infused with hope. The gospel-infused “Hard Times” and the ancient Anglo-American hymn “Amazing Grace” feature sumptuously blues-rich Duke Ellington-like horn voicings and Armstrong/Morton-esque New Orleans group wailing. The Ellington-writ standard “In A Sentimental Mood” finds the Jeli Posse joined by Count Basie veteran Frank Wess on oh-so-elegant flute. Fear not, hard bop devotees—the knotty yet urgent “Triumph” roars with class and—note Michael Dease’s trombone solo—a touch of refreshing irreverence. The pop standard “Dedicated to You,” nods to the smooth, amorous tenor ballad tradition of Houston Person and Gene Ammons. The closing track “Jeli Posse” brings together it all together—African motifs, blues, gospel, swing, soul jazz, blistering bop, and even a touch of funk…it’s all American, all music, all over the globe.

“Everything builds on what is around as the values and traditions are passed down. From the African roots to today, many ingredients have been thrown into the pot…that includes the ground laid by the medicine men and messengers before us. Coexist speaks to these complex economic and social times. Tracks like ‘Ummah’ (“Community”) and ‘Amazing Grace’ highlight the communal and the spiritual,” says Harper. (The hymn “Amazing Grace” was written by John Newton, a British slave-trader that underwent a religious conversion and sought Forgiveness for previous deeds.) For the past couple of decades, many jazz performers talk about “the tradition” and idealize what has been—Winard Harper knows the tradition is about learning from the past, living in the present, and reaching to the future.

(Mark Keresman





For more information, Please contact:Don Jay Smith 
Frank Moten


This E Mail is being sent for Jazz Legacy Productions by:
Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services T: 845-986-1677 E-Mail:jim@jazzpromoservices.com




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