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Pianist/Composer KEVIN HARRIS Releases A Pianist Perspective on Charlie Parker's Music With His New Album BIRD INTERPRETATIONS
(Published: October 04, 2015)

"New York-based pianist Kevin Harris (...) deals with themes of strength, love, courage and self-awareness. It's a heavy task he's set up for himself, and he meets the challenge gracefully."
- DownBeat Magazine
"...the tight/loose elasticity, the tension between form and freedom that was the hallmark of so many Miles Davis sessions with Shorter and Herbie Hancock . . . calm and collected, but also loose and full of surprises."
- Jon Garelick, The Phoenix
"...it's precisely the ‘call and response' interaction between musicians that has endeared Harris to his chosen genre"
- The Copenhagen Post
"Eclectic Harris: In his hometown, he is known to be an "dialectic" improviser, that is, he enjoys conversating through his music with the public while he creates on the white and black keys."
-Corriere della Sera, Milan, Italy
"Kevin Harris has a very special talent. His writing is interesting and challenging, with a sense of originality and commitment to quality. I so enjoy listening to and playing with Kevin. Makes me know that jazz is alive, well and in good hands... AND that new music can be great, with solid respect for what has come before, while strongly forging ahead into the future. Very exciting! Thank you Kevin..."
-Terri Lyne Carrington, Grammy Award Winner

In October 2015, Jazz pianist Kevin Harris will be releasing his 5th album "Bird Interpretations".

The exciting new trio album exhibits captivating dialogue by Kevin Harris (piano), Francisco Mela (drums), and Ben Street (acoustic bass), that will carry the listener to a fresh and engaging perspective on Charlie Parker's music.

In choosing to interpret some of Charlie Parker's repertoire, Harris seeks to echo the inspiring effect that Bird's music has had on generations past and present, as well as documenting his own progress as a jazz pianist. As Parker's musical journey began in Kansas City to be later defined in New York City, Harris' playing certainly presents a contrast informed by geography: the understated elegance and soulfulness of his native Kentucky coalesces with the elevated energy and hustle and bustle of his adopted home towns, Boston (MA) and New York City to form a highly unique person and musician. Harris has also garnered praise and recognition for his distinctive combination of traditional and contemporary music, within which he consistently, and naturally, explores these various elements of his life.

"Bird Interpretations" celebrates the confident ripples set in motion by Charlie Parker.  Harris aspires to journey upon those ripples that have become majestic waves for countless artists to explore upon. In "Bird Interpretations", Harris is taking on this collection from the perspective of a pianist, swinging soulful 4/4 time, and also creating technical challenges for himself from playing the melody in the left hand while producing complex counter-rhythms in the right hand, to playfully navigating Birds' repertoire in odd meters.

The Kevin Harris Project is well known and deeply appreciated for its use of space, a clear trait of this new album as well. Demonstrating a vibrant and skillful approach to making music, Harris has enjoyed working with Mela and Street over the years. "They cannot be boxed in by a particular style or the way the music is supposed to sound. Instead, together we forge new possibilities, becoming a sort of force to be reckoned with" says Harris. Something, he believes, listeners will also agree with when they experience the album.

Pianist, composer, and educator, Harris thrives on interaction and collaboration; "participation," he says, "is what keeps our souls alive." This attitude, not to mention his talent, has led to prolific sideman work with the likes of trumpeter Greg Osby, Avishai Cohen, Steve Langone, Eddie Gomez, Carlos Averhoff Jr., Richie Barshay, Duane Eubanks, Ben Street, Ralph Peterson, Ralph Bowen, Jason Palmer, Jerry Bergonzi, Francisco Mela, Bob Moses, Warren Wolf, George Garzone and Terri Lyne Carrington.  

Featured tunes: Craezology, is the first song on the album, up tempo and unapologetic in its use of space and hard swinging momentum. My Little Suede shoes is arranged in a 5/4 time signature. Although the trio stretches the rhythmic meter, there is still a brilliant elastic push and pull that the listener can't help but notice. Moose the Mooche is played in a free flowing rubato style. Its colors, texture, shapes, and unpredictable directions are a breath of fresh air. Segment, a medium swing anthem of noble fortitude, will certainly move the listener from his/her seat towards the dance floor. Ko Ko features drummer Francisco Mela and uses the chord changes of a Ray Noble's composition, Cherokee; but as Parker would keep the chords changes to previously written songs and give them a new melody, Harris has further arranged this up tempo song specifically for the trio. And what a treat it is! Donna Lee, serves up as complex etude of polyrhythms and left hand facility, in the playful style for which Harris is gaining recognition. Chi Chi invites the listener to join an intriguing conversation of unexpected re-harmonization and humorous dialogue. Bloomdido features Ben Street, a bassist not rushed nor driven to impress, who, with each note, respects the integrity of the song.

In Charlie Parker's music, we hear joy, laughter, relentless tribulation, playful sincerity, haunting fears, exciting difficulties, and resolute certainty. It is Harris' hope that the listener will experience the same essence and conviction within the exciting interpretations of this album.

More Information: https://www.KevinHarrisProject.com

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