Roderick Harper

Evolving
(RHM)

Roderick Harper presents music that’s easy to gravitate toward, whether as a new or longtime fan. The New Orleans vocalist offers a smooth and elegant timbre. But its specific character exudes a lightness and moves through melodies with a playful flow, rather than a dense and serious tone.

A take of “The Great City” showcases this point, as Harper’s vocal slides fluidly from note to note, leaving the occasional aural nod—grace note-like in brevity—curled over syllables at the end of a lyric line. Secondary elements like Chris Guccione’s swing drumming on the track, and the deceptive upward note movement for a line about “drag[ging] you down,” enhance the music’s playful core.

“Infinite Heart,” the album’s one original, features saxophonist Donald Harrison and is propelled by a melody eschewing tonal predictability. Here, Harper can break away from the slippery slope of conventional jazz chord progressions, without abandoning his assured and comforting style.



On Sale Now
June 2021
Vijay Iyer
Look Inside
Subscribe
Print | Digital | iPad