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Billy Harper

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For my money, Billy is maybe the best Tenor player on the planet (and probably has been for years).

I'm not including Wayne in my calculus, because his compositional talents really transcend his instrument - and plus, for how many years has he been playing soprano half the time (minimum).  Wayne (like Miles) is more of a 'jazz auteur' in my mind (to borrow a term from film) -- and really covers a lot more areas than just their instrument.

Anyway, I'm having a hard time thinking of anyone who tops Billy in my book -- or (for me personally), who even comes especially close.

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wowie zowie. Love his playing; I shouldn't say this is public, but I find his playing to be an antidote to the Brecker sound. A lot more.....feeling? I dunno, it just gets to me MUCH more.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Yes that is it with Billy to me: feeling. It’s like he is talking directly to my soul, and I am not even a spiritual person. He’s just stunning.

51 minutes ago, JSngry said:

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

Added to my wantlist :) 

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18 minutes ago, AllenLowe said:

wowie zowie. Love his playing; I shouldn't say this is public, but I find his playing to be an antidote to the Brecker sound. A lot more.....feeling? I dunno, it just gets to me MUCH more.

I can't tell you how many hours I spent advocating for Billy at NT in the face of rampant Liebman/Grossman-ism and a parallel Brecker-ism. nothing wrong with them, but at the time their math just seemed a little too obvious to me to really be grabbing. Finally got one guy - a guitarist - interested. He was an instinctive transcriber, that was how he learned the languages. He came to me about a week after starting on one of Billy's things and said whoa, I thought this was going to be easy...

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Just saw Billy a couple of weeks ago in Detroit with David Weiss' band The Cookers and he was sounding as strong as ever at 76.

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Me, I'll just heartily agree and point to what my avatar has been since the day I joined this board in 2005.   No musician's music has touched my soul like Harper's has.  I understand how he has absorbed Coltrane,  and I LOVE Coltrane's music, but there's something in Harper at his best that hits my soul even deeper still.   Hannibal Peterson at his best in the mid-late 70's also reaches me that way, and McCoy Tyner for a season in the 60s-70's also (say, roughly "Expansions" through "Atlantis").  Charles Tolliver in his "Ringer" through "Loosdrecht" prime.  But especially Harper.

Edited by felser

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Yes I’m gonna be a Harper completist just like you I think! Way easier anyway than my other goal: being a Waldron completist. Fortunately Harpers discography is a bit smaller. Saves me some bucks haha!

I already own:

- Capra Black

- Somalia 

- Destiny is Yours (killer album)

- In Europe

- Black Saint

- Soran Bushi

what should be my next step? 

Still hoping Mr. Harper will visit the Netherlands or Belgium with The Cookers some day. That’s an asskickin group

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Be sure to pick up the three "Live on Tour in the Far East" CD's on Steeplechase, along with some of the other titles being discussed.  And the final Lee Morgan album on Blue Note with a great version of Harper's "Capra Black" (that album was my introduction to Harper).

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24 minutes ago, Pim said:

Yes I’m gonna be a Harper completist just like you I think! Way easier anyway than my other goal: being a Waldron completist. Fortunately Harpers discography is a bit smaller. Saves me some bucks haha!

I already own:

- Capra Black

- Somalia 

- Destiny is Yours (killer album)

- In Europe

- Black Saint

- Soran Bushi

what should be my next step? 

Still hoping Mr. Harper will visit the Netherlands or Belgium with The Cookers some day. That’s an asskickin group

"Knowledge Of Self" (Denon) and "Trying To Make Heaven My Home" (MPS) ....

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Got the Morgan, one of my all time favorite albums!

thanks for the advice!

Edited by Pim

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Any thoughts on the two Malachi Thompson albums on Delmark?

71s75QUT2WL._SL1078_.jpg51HfNVqcnJL.jpg

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58 minutes ago, Pim said:

Yes I’m gonna be a Harper completist just like you I think! Way easier anyway than my other goal: being a Waldron completist. Fortunately Harpers discography is a bit smaller. Saves me some bucks haha!

I already own:

- Capra Black

- Somalia 

- Destiny is Yours (killer album)

- In Europe

- Black Saint

- Soran Bushi

what should be my next step? 

Still hoping Mr. Harper will visit the Netherlands or Belgium with The Cookers some day. That’s an asskickin group

Don`t forget :

Max Roach Quartet "Live In Tokyo" Vol 1 + 2 (Denon)

Max Roach Quartet "Nommo aka Live in Lousanne" (Victor)

May Roach Quartet "Live In Amsterdam" (Baystate)

and

Max Roach Quartet "The Loadstar" (Horo)

Happy hunting :party: ....

 

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20 hours ago, soulpope said:

Don`t forget :

Max Roach Quartet "Live In Tokyo" Vol 1 + 2 (Denon)

Max Roach Quartet "Nommo aka Live in Lousanne" (Victor)

May Roach Quartet "Live In Amsterdam" (Baystate)

and

Max Roach Quartet "The Loadstar" (Horo)

Happy hunting :party: ....

 

Youtube is your only friend.  There's a Mosaic waiting to happen there.

20 hours ago, mjzee said:

Any thoughts on the two Malachi Thompson albums on Delmark?

71s75QUT2WL._SL1078_.jpg51HfNVqcnJL.jpg

I own and really like both of them.  Definitely recommended without reservation.  And not just because of Harper's involvement - I really like Thompson.

Edited by felser

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I would highly recommend "The Believer" on Baystate which goes for a pretty penny on CD as well as his work on Gil Evans' "Svengali" which is sublime.

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Billy is superb on the Ampex Gil Evans album. He is featured on "So Long", with a typical Evans carpet of sound.


That's all I have heard of Billy. I'd love to hear more, but the albums mentioned in this ancient thread are probably very hard to chase down.

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1 hour ago, Harbour said:

I would highly recommend "The Believer" on Baystate which goes for a pretty penny on CD as well as his work on Gil Evans' "Svengali" which is sublime.

I had a copy of "The Believer". It was a CD-R from his fan club website. It stopped playing years ago and I could never get them to replace it.

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1 hour ago, Shrdlu said:

Billy is superb on the Ampex Gil Evans album. He is featured on "So Long", with a typical Evans carpet of sound.


That's all I have heard of Billy. I'd love to hear more, but the albums mentioned in this ancient thread are probably very hard to chase down.

The Ampex is the one that was reissued as "Blues in Orbit" on Enja later, right?

"Black Saint" and "In Europe" are still avalable in their most recent Japanese incarnations (which I bought a while ago):

http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/CDSOL-45010

http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/UVJZ-10168

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I got a Japanese reissue of The Believer a few years ago. Watch for it to come around again at some point and carpe diem.

Here's another two "must-haves" to get:

8637b4d3f8a2af8c654990328f29f31f.jpg

If_Our_Hearts_Could_Only_See.jpg

There's some more "deep catalog" items to get, more than you might think.

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I have Harper with Gil and saw him with The Cookers in London a couple of years ago. But I have no other cds.  From what's readily available what should I get?  Black Saint? 

 

Since I first posted this I discovered that I can sample various Harper records on Spotify. 

Edited by medjuck

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20 minutes ago, medjuck said:

and saw him with The Cookers in London a couple of years ago.

Same here - caught that one in Southampton.

Some years before that he also appeared over here as featured soloist with Charles  Tolliver’s Big Band, I recall. Plus a great appearance at the Strata East London Concert where they did Capra Black.

4 hours ago, JSngry said:

 

8637b4d3f8a2af8c654990328f29f31f.jpg

 

Good one.

Edited by sidewinder

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This is a little known gem with a whole lotta good Harper going on.  And affordable to pick up.  Had this one in my BFT a few years ago, but of course almost no one listens to my BFT's ;)

https://www.discogs.com/Mark-Masters-Jazz-Orchestra-With-Billy-Harper-And-Jimmy-Knepper-Priestess/release/9176093

Image result for mark billy harper knepper

36 minutes ago, medjuck said:

I have Harper with Gil and saw him with The Cookers in London a couple of years ago. But I have no other cds.  From what's readily available what should I get?  Black Saint? 

 

Since I first posted this I discovered that I can sample various Harper records on Spotify. 

The Steeplechase titles are all great and available (Europe, three volumes of Far East, Destiny is Yours).  Somalia is really good and dirt cheap.  Soul of an Angel is worthy and easily available.  

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Been a HUGE Billy fan for decades. Blew my mind when I saw him for the first time with Max at the Keystone Korner in '77. I have most of his albums.

Sure with someone would release "The Loadstar" on CD!

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15 minutes ago, BFrank said:

Been a HUGE Billy fan for decades. Blew my mind when I saw him for the first time with Max at the Keystone Korner in '77. I have most of his albums.

Sure with someone would release "The Loadstar" on CD!

Were you at the show that had Hutcherson's group and Dexter Gordon as well as Roach's quartet with Harper/Bridgewater/Workman?  I was there!  

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Listening to Mr Harper on Gil Evans' 'Where Flamingos Fly' right now. Highly recommended.

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4 hours ago, felser said:

This is a little known gem with a whole lotta good Harper going on.  And affordable to pick up.  Had this one in my BFT a few years ago, but of course almost no one listens to my BFT's ;)

https://www.discogs.com/Mark-Masters-Jazz-Orchestra-With-Billy-Harper-And-Jimmy-Knepper-Priestess/release/9176093

Image result for mark billy harper knepper

 

Seconded!

Masters also did an album of/with grachan Moncur III that is more than a little worthy.

 

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