Joel Harrison and Spirit House
inquisitive chamber-jazz to fiery, eruptive jazz/rock
Saturday, April 6 08:00 pm
$20 General Admission
$23 General Day of Show
$30 Reserved Admission
"Joel Harrison has stretched the boundaries of form and freedom for over fifteen years, but [his recent discs] have represented significant evolutionary leaps…pushing the limits of cross-pollination by eliminating all preconceived stylistic delineators."
—John Kelman, All About Jazz
Harrison is one of our unsung (okay, undersung) heroes. Guitarist, composer, arranger, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, recipient of numerous grants and commissions—Harrison fronts an astonishing variety of large and small groups, taking inspiration from an idiosyncratic array of sonic inventors that stretches from the open-eared expansiveness of Miles Davis and Charles Ives to the American rhapsodies of Walt Whitman and Hank Williams. Harrison’s sound fits equally well in jazz clubs and concert halls—and the occasional dive bar across town.
On the band: Bassoonist Paul Hanson was a longtime Harrison band member in the 90's when they toured and recorded two cds together, Range of Motion (Koch Jazz), and Transience (Spirit Nectar). Hanson is considered the greatest improviser on his unusual axe in the world, combining passionate melody, astounding technique, and electronics into a uniquely powerful package. Hanson and Harrison have a wonderful rapport- sharing a love for jazz, rock, chamber music, Eastern sounds, and everything in between.
Cuong Vu recently recorded with Harrison on the cd Holy Abyss (Cuneiform), and critics noted how well his sound wrapped around Harrison's sinuous guitar lines, by turns haunting, screaming, liquid or distorted. Vu, of course, has much experience with guitarists, having been a member of Pat Metheny's band, and a collaborator with Bill Frisell. Kermit Driscoll, bassist, has been in countless acclaimed bands over the years, including Bill Frisell's seminal groups of the 80's and 90's, and he recently played electric and acoustic bass on Harrison's new 19 piece jazz orchestra recording, "Infinite Possibility." Says Harrison, "Kermit is one of the most capable, strong, and supportive bass players alive. He gets directly to the essence of the music, no matter what the style or level of difficulty. He is a joy to work with." Brian Blade, is of course, one of the most acclaimed drummers of his generation. His bio includes luminaries such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and Joni Mitchell. Blade and Harrison first met in Europe when Blade shared a bill with Harrison's Free Country Project. Blade was knocked out by Harrison's original approach to American roots music and said, "I hope we get to play sometime." Harrison says, "Although I have never played with Brian, I feel as if I know his sound intimately, because he speaks to me on so many levels. We both share similar traits as composers, appreciating soulful simplicity, narrative drama, unpredictable explosiveness, and stirring melodies. Also, we both are songwriters as well as jazz musicians. I am planning to have Brian sing, as he does so beautifully on his Mama Rosa cd, and who knows, I may even join him in that." Expect some musical magic with Spirit House, ranging from inquisitive chamber-jazz to fiery, eruptive jazz/rock.