The Harper Brothers

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Artistry Review

by Scott Yanow

During 1988-1992, the Harper Brothers were one of the leading Young Lions groups in jazz, younger musicians playing within the style of hard bop as typified by the 1960s recordings on Blue Note. The third of the Harper Brothers' four recordings is very much in the tradition, and much of the time sounds very much like 1965 or the early-'60s Jazz Messengers. Philip Harper's style mixes together aspects of Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard, Javon Jackson could almost pass for Joe Henderson, and the rhythm section is laid-back, soulful, supportive, and swinging. The originals are in the hard bop style (with "J.W." influenced by "Giant Steps"), and even "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" undergoes an effective transformation. The results are enjoyable if derivative.

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