From the recording "DAT'S JAZZ"
by: Donald Harrison and Victoria Harrison
New Orleans born jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison continues his trendsetting ways on his new composition, “Dat’s Jazz,” which was composed with his daughter, Victoria Harrison. This project is his most ambitious acoustic jazz exploration of nouveau swing, the innovative and influential style of jazz he created in the late 80’s.
When you listen to “Dat’s Jazz,” you hear Harrison adapting his experiences playing with jazz masters of every era to form the foundation of how he shapes his new jazz concepts. Harrison’s sound on, “Dat’s Jazz,” includes strains of every era of jazz which he merges into a unique blend of swinging jazz, hip-hop, soul, classical, funk and R&B.
Harrison has combined his abilities to write and rap as a MC, recite spoken word, sing vocalese, dance, scat and play saxophone from a jazz and universal perspective on “Dat’s Jazz.” He again moves center stage as one of the most innovative jazz voices by using his cutting edge ideas on saxophone to take rhythm, technique, melody and harmony to new places. The things Harrison can do on saxophone are great, but what makes this song unique is how Harrison used his multifaceted talents along with his exceptional jazz sax playing to create an accessible jazz vehicle. This song brings jazz back to people music, yet still gives instrumentalist freedom of expression and pushes them to improvise modern jazz at their highest level.
The musicians on “Dat’s Jazz” are all from New Orleans, the birth place of jazz. Joe Dyson, the drummer, deftly merges playing a one handed roll figure on his snare drum, a funk bass drum and a hi-hat figure on all four beats against a swinging ride cymbal to produce a tapestry of layers in his drum patterns. Bassist Max Moran adds funky ostinatos and incorporates Harrison idea of walking a bass line in multiple meters to help the group make effortless transitions throughout their musical landscapes. The subtle chord changes that give the piece its mellow yet hip edge are contributed by pianist Shea Pierre as he floats, glides and stabs in all the right places throughout the piece. Harrison rounds out the group with sax ideas culled from Sydney Bechet, to Bird, to Trane to infinity. Listen for his presentation of ideas amassed while playing with such greats as Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, Miles Davis, Lena Horne, Billy Cobham, The Cookers, The Headhunters, Doc Paulin’s Brass Band, Jack McDuff, Louis Armstrong’s former sidemen drummer Barrett Deems and bassist Arvel Shaw and The Duke’s Men, a band of former Duke Ellington sidemen in which he played the role of Johnny Hodges. Those experiences are some of the main components which led to Harrison’s development of his new concepts of playing across time and harmony as well as playing through time and space while still being connected to the history of jazz music.
Although “Dat’s Jazz” is a musical experience with intricate ideas, it still allows the musicians and listeners freedom to either bob their heads, to sit back and groove or to ponder what is going on intellectually. This song is just another example in the long history of jazz where an artist honestly reports his perspective on the tenor of his times through his music.
Personell: Donald Harrison - alto sax, lead & background vocals, spoken word and rapping
Joe Dyson - drums
Max Moran - bass
Shea Pierre - piano
Recorded and mixed by Tim Stambaugh at Word Of Mouth Recording Studio on January 18, 2016 in New Orleans, LA