Zacc Harris Group

Small Wonders
(SHIFTING PARADIGM)

This second album by the Twin-Cities-based Zacc Harris Group finds the original quintet (guitarist Harris, tenor saxophonist Brandon Wozniak, pianist Bryan Nichols, bassist Chris Bates, drummer JT Bates) augmented by Indiana-based trumpeter-educator John Raymond, whose commanding presence adds a decided edge here.

On the angular opener, “Ominous Skies,” Raymond follows potent solos by Wozniak and Harris by instantly taking things up a notch with his own harmonic agenda; a portend of things to come for this adventurous sextet. Raymond’s stellar high-note blowing brings some serious bite to the pleasing “Sundials,” while the jazz waltz “Glass Houses” is a showcase for the guitarist’s fluid, warm-toned style. Harris reveals a fondness for intricate heads and chops-busting unisons, as on the dynamic “Civil Dawn,” which opens up to a two-and-a-half-minute solo piano excursion by Nichols before Harris and Raymond offer some sparkling call-and-response over an entrancing ostinato, and also on the unrelenting swinger “The Void,” the latter featuring a succession of sizzling solos by Wozniak, Raymond and Harris before Nichols plays harmonic provocateur on his own outstanding solo.

The tender brushes ballad “Maya,” underscored by the simpatico rhythm tandem of the Bates brothers, provides a moment of crystalline reflection, while the second-line fueled “Apple Jacks” is an earthy departure from the program that incorporates lively call-and-response statements and collective improvisation between Wozniak and RaymondThis second album by the Twin-Cities-based Zacc Harris Group finds the original quintet (guitarist Harris, tenor saxophonist Brandon Wozniak, pianist Bryan Nichols, bassist Chris Bates, drummer JT Bates) augmented by Indiana-based trumpeter-educator John Raymond, whose commanding presence adds a decided edge here.

On the angular opener, “Ominous Skies,” Raymond follows potent solos by Wozniak and Harris by instantly taking things up a notch with his own harmonic agenda; a portend of things to come for this adventurous sextet. Raymond’s stellar high-note blowing brings some serious bite to the pleasing “Sundials,” while the jazz waltz “Glass Houses” is a showcase for the guitarist’s fluid, warm-toned style. Harris reveals a fondness for intricate heads and chops-busting unisons, as on the dynamic “Civil Dawn,” which opens up to a two-and-a-half-minute solo piano excursion by Nichols before Harris and Raymond offer some sparkling call-and-response over an entrancing ostinato, and also on the unrelenting swinger “The Void,” the latter featuring a succession of sizzling solos by Wozniak, Raymond and Harris before Nichols plays harmonic provocateur on his own outstanding solo.

The tender brushes ballad “Maya,” underscored by the simpatico rhythm tandem of the Bates brothers, provides a moment of crystalline reflection, while the second-line fueled “Apple Jacks” is an earthy departure from the program that incorporates lively call-and-response statements and collective improvisation between Wozniak and Raymond.



On Sale Now
August 2022
Jon Batiste
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