Roni Ben-Hur

Backyard

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Often one can judge the merits of a lesser-known player by the musicians he or she uses on their recordings. For this fine release from the Swiss TCB label, guitarist Roni Ben-Hur is joined by the immortal bop pianist Barry Harris, bassist Lisle Atkinson and drummer Leroy Williams for a set of delightful bop. Ben-Hur, who came to New York in the mid-1980's so as to study with Harris, has a cool sound (a little reminiscent of Jimmy Raney) and is a relaxed and inventive improviser. The repertoire features attractive chord changes and underplayed standards including "The Thrill Is Gone," Bud Powell's "Dance Of The Infidels" and Sonny Rollins' "Audubon." There are also two originals by Harris (the title cut is based on "Embraceable You"), one from the guitarist and an effective vocal by Ben-Hur's wife Amy London on "Something To Live For." This set is easily recommended to fans of bop.

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