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Jose Reyes

The Barry Harris Sextet and “Bull’s Eye”

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Here’s another great example of a “solid” Hard Bop recording that was done in the late 60’s. “Bull’s Eye” was recorded in 1968 and reflects Barry Harris’ originality and wittiness to follow and also create, with his fellow band members (read description below). There is another factor which involves my favorite jazz drummer, Billy Higgins and arguably the reason why Harris is able to achieve all his goals in this album. If one listens well to this album, they could hear Harris and Higgins playing together in harmony as they create all the mood changes together. Of course, one cannot ignore a great bass (Paul Chambers) backing them up in perfect rhythm. Also, it doesn’t hurt either to have a trio of legends on the horns, Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Pepper Adams (baritone sax) and Charles McPhearson on tenor, LOL!! A real killer, top-notch, true classic jazz recording! This really never ends, what a treasure of jazz, stemming from the mid 50’s to the late 60’s. All these outstanding jazz musicians, existing and recording together at the same time period. Enjoy!

About the album:

In the liner notes that he wrote for Bull’s Eye in 1968, Mark Gardner quotes pianist Walter Bishop as calling Barry Harris “one of the very last of the bebop purists that we have on the piano.” Bishop knew what he was talking about; back in 1968, many acoustic pianists were choosing modal post-bop or avant-garde jazz over bop — and some were taking up electric keyboards and starting to explore a fascinating new jazz-rock-funk amalgam that came to be called fusion. But Harris, who was 38 when he recorded Bull’s Eye, was still a hardcore bebopper along the lines of Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk. On this 1968 session, the Detroit native offers no acknowledgment of ’60s trends in jazz piano — he doesn’t acknowledge McCoy Tyner’s modal post-bop any more than he acknowledges Cecil Taylor’s free jazz. And that’s just as well, because Harris is great at what he does. Unlike Tyner, Taylor, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, or Andrew Hill, Harris was always a follower rather than a leader. But again, he’s great at what he does, and on Bull’s Eye, Harris excels whether he is embracing Monk’s “Off Minor” or providing original tunes that range…..Learn More

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