Lafayette Harris Jr.

You Can’t Lose With The Blues

With a title like this, listeners would expect the latest album by pianist Lafayette Harris Jr. to be greasier than it actually is. Granted, it might be more polite than expected, but the blues slant slowly sneaks in there.

Harris, a Baltimore native, has been based in the New York area since the ’90s, a time that found him recording for the Muse label. While his musical background’s rooted in the church, his experience has taken him from funk bands to Broadway theater. It all comes out in his playing, too, which here is ably supported by drummer Lewis Nash and bassist Peter Washington.

The balance of the program is given over to familiar standards. “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying,” “Please Send Me Someone To Love,” “I Love You, Yes I Do” and “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” all benefit from Harris’ light touch on the keys. He even manages to sneak in an ’80s soul number from DeBarge. However, it’s on Harris’ three originals that the band really gets a chance to shine. “Blues For Barry Harris” is carried along by a fiery Latin rhythm from Nash; “The Juicy Blues” moves along with an almost Monkish feel; and the title track is a smoldering slow blues that remains true to its name.

As an aside, the album was produced by another former Muse artist, saxophonist Houston Person. Like Harris, Person knows a thing or two about fusing jazz, blues and r&b, with a string of albums under his name to prove the point.

On Sale Now
August 2020
Terri Lyne Carrington
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