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Billy Harper

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I saw Billy Harper at the Up Over Jazz Cafe in Brooklyn a few years ago and was absolutely blown away. Harper's compositions are always interesting, and the kind of passion that he and his band members bring to the music is very rare these days. Anyone unfamiliar with his music should pick some up without hesitation.

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I credit Billy Harper with deepening my passion for this music during my "formative years." Seeing Billy live with Thad & Mel just blew me away - his command of the horn from upper to lower register, his intensity, his attitude of "humble search", I could go on & on...............he seemed to steal the show.

On Billy Harper threads I'm usually the only one who seems deeply committed to his recording "Soran-Bushi, B.H." That's O.K. I'll keep plugging it!!! :D

Smokin' in parts, meditative in parts, and both qualities together. Featuring Everett Hollins (trumpet) Harold Mabern, Greg Maker (bass) Horace Arnold and Billy Hart (together) on drums.

Here's the number for the Billy Harper fan club - apparently he's followed by quite an entourage when he plays in N.Y.C. (410) 467-4328. I had a fairly long conversation with the woman who heads up his fan club ---- very cool lady. I'm sure any questions re. CD's vs. CDR's could be cleared up by calling. For the record, the copy of Soran I picked up a couple of years ago is a CD.

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In the ongoing search for Capra Black, and actually not having any Harper, I picked up Black Saint yesterday. I put it on, and my face looked like this: :o

You think you've been listening to this music for a while, and you're surpised all over again: there are always artists out there that you've simply passed by for one reason or another. This is one passionate session. And chops? Billy Harper knows the tenor saxophone. Good gracious. "Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart" has one of the most ecstatic tenor saxophone solos I've heard in a long time.

If you're like me, and didn't have this one until yesterday ( -_- ), do something nice for yourself and splurge on this one. Man oh man.

Yes, this is a spectacular album - start to finish. It should be in everyone's collection. :o:tup

d14751io72k.jpg

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Yes, this is a spectacular album - start to finish. It should be in everyone's collection.  :o  :tup

d14751io72k.jpg

Yeah, and the suit that he wears on the cover is BAD ASS as well! :)

Edited by Jazzdog

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There was speculation on page #2 of this thread that the Capra Black CD release for sale on the link that Jim posted (page #1) might in fact be a CDR. Nope. I spoke to Helen Scott yesterday (chairwoman of the B.H. fan club) and she informed me that both the Capra Black & Black Saint releases for sale were *CD's.*

Just thought you'd like to know.

Edited by James

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Thanks for clearing that up, James!

$20, and autographed by Harper himself? Why not!

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Yeah man - Capra Black & Black Saint are en route to my place, along with a Billy Harper T-shirt. Can't wait to dive into these recordings!! :D

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Enjoy! :tup

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On Billy Harper threads I'm usually the only one who seems deeply committed to his recording "Soran-Bushi, B.H." That's O.K. I'll keep plugging it!!! :D

Smokin' in parts, meditative in parts, and both qualities together. Featuring Everett Hollins (trumpet) Harold Mabern, Greg Maker (bass) Horace Arnold and Billy Hart (together) on drums.

Count me in too. That's a GREAT record. His other Denon, KNOWLEDGE OF SELF, is also excellent, but SORAN-BUSHI just has a vibe to it that makes it EXTRA special.

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(Huge sigh of relief) I'M NOT ALONE ANY MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

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g02922dz5c6.jpg

This one seems similar to the Denon session you're mentioning. Almost the same line-up, and some of the same tunes. Have you heard it?

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I have it. Highly recommended.

It's not a Denon date, thopugh. I have it on a Marge (France) LP, and I've since seen it issued on different labels. The Denon stuff was available in the US on LP ca. late/70s/very early 80s, and then again in the early CD days, but I don't know if the Harper stuff made it to CD or not. That was a pretty interesting, if uneven, series of releases. I think Reggie Workman was the A&R guy.

Interesting trivia - Billy recorded the inaugural albums for the Black Saint & Soul Note labels both. BLACK SAINT has it's fans here obviously, but how about the Soul Note date, BILLY HARPER QUINTET IN EUROPE. That's another great one. Killer version of "Priestess".

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"Trying to Make Heaven My Home" is a solid date, too.

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This is great input, all. I'll e-mail this page to Helen Scott - I'm sure Billy would appreciate the feedback.

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I've been heavily into Billy Harper since "Black Saint" first appeared on vinyl in the mid-'70s. Since then, I've picked up most of his recordings and know them almost by heart. His distinctive and passionate music could often serve as my personal soundtrack.

My favorite Billy Harper recordings are the Denons ("Knowledge Of Self", "Love On The Sudan", "Soran-Bushi"), "The Believer", "Trying to Make Heaven My Home", "Black Saint", "Destiny Is Yours", "Somalia", and "Soul of an Angel".

I'm playing "Somalia" right now. "Thy Will Be Done" is almost apocalyptic (Play it LOUD).

My mellower, dinner-with-guests Billy Harper choice is "Such Great Friends" (Strata-East, 1983), not to be confused with the more recent release, "Great Friends" (Evidence).

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I have 7 or 8 Billy Harper LPs in my collection - Denons, Baystate, Black Saint/Soul Note, and Capra Black. When I play one of them, I'm hooked. I tend to think of him as a limited player (and I can understand those who hear him that way) until I listen. I don't know if I'd call it spirituality, sincerity, or what, but I dig his sound and his playing. Count me in as a fan.

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I'm playing "Somalia" right now. "Thy Will Be Done" is almost apocalyptic (Play it LOUD).

"Somalia" is my all-time favorite Billy Harper session.

The whole thing has to be played LOUD! Great kickbutt music. :tup

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For some reason, I've never really warmed to "Somalia". I'm listening to it tonight after reading the praises here, but it still doesn't climb up my list of favorites.

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Correction to make here: robert h's theory re. Capra Black was correct. I received my two Billy Harper discs in the mail yesterday and Capra is in fact a CDR. Black Saint is a "CD."

I don't believe for a moment that I was misled into believing that both releases were CD's, but rather that there was misunderstanding re. what I was asking when I spoke to Helen --- who is CLEARLY a person of great work ethic & integrity.

And as Robert pointed out in his post - who cares when the quality of the music is at this level? I've been enjoying both recordings enormously.

Edited by James

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Good news — Capra Black is now available (again) on disc, as a German import. Dusty Groove is currently stocking it, in addition to Cecil Payne's Zodiac. Now if only Charles Brackeen's Rhythm X would make it out as a re-reissue on disc.

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R-2636775-1294538551.jpeg.jpg

 

Anyone know this one? Bought it for 5 euros at the Utrecht fair and it's pretty freakin great! Steamin session, wow! It's with Everett Hollins, Harold Mabern, Greg Maker, Horacee Arnold and the very great Billy Hart. So that's two drummers :) Seems to be one of those lesser known pearls,

 

Edited by Pim

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Yeah, there were three Denons. This one and Knowledge Of Self are desert island Billy, imo.

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