The Billy Harper Quintet's In Europe appeared as the first release from the Soul Note label, a co-label of Milan's other avant-garde label, Black Saint, in 1979. In Europe presents Texas-born composer and tenor saxophonist Harper and his quintet, featuring an energetic lineup of musicians including Everett Hollins on trumpet, Fred Hersch on piano, Louie "Mbiki" Spears on bass, and Horace Arnold on drums. Recorded in Milan at Barigozzi studios, In Europe gives a fine glimpse at the power and intensity of Harper's compositions and his tremendous abilities as an improviser. Harper's gorgeous tone is reminiscent of John Coltrane's, an artist whose spiritual and soulful playing Harper builds off of to shape his own organic style. The three compositions presented on In Europe include some of Harper's best work, notably "Priestess," with its infectious gospel progression, and the energized and melodic "Calvary." Highly recommended music for post-bop and free jazz appreciators.
AllMusic Review by Jeff Schwachter