Donald Harrison Quintet

For Art's Sake

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This CD sometimes sounds like a hard bop jam session. Altoist Donald Harrison, who is joined by trumpeter Marlon Jordan (19 at the time), pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Christian McBride and drummer Carl Allen, starts off the live session with "So What" and the "Freddie Freeloader"-like blues "Nut" (which alternates between two different keys). However, the date takes a welcome turn to the left during a 17-minute version of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," which features an explorative Harrison solo, an explosive yet thoughtful improvisation from Jordan, and intense work by the rhythm section. After the leader's showcase on a rather sober interpretation of "In a Sentimental Mood," the quintet does a close impression of the Jazz Messengers on "For Art's Sake" (during which Chestnut imitates Bobby Timmons) before stretching out on "Oleo." This somewhat derivative music may not be essential, but the developing individuality of the young player does pop through here and there, and the solos are well played.

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