Instant Party is essentially a single-disc best-of compilation featuring some of the more uptempo highlights from pianist Gene Harris' long stay at the Concord Jazz label. Harris recorded for Concord from 1985 until 1999 (he died early in 2000), and his stay amounted to both a revival and a fruitful autumnal capstone to his long career. A fluid and soulful player, Harris brought a hint of the blues to everything he touched, and the selection here is no exception. From the light jazz-funk of the opener, "Old Funky Gene's," to the rapid and seemingly effortless piano runs of "Listen Here," which features the great Ray Brown on bass, Harris develops his own blue version of soul-jazz. Tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine joins Harris and Brown on Brown's own "Uptown Sop," one of the clear highlights of the set. Other high points include the tight and controlled groove of Harris' rendition of Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder" and a version of Bobbie Gentry's surprisingly flexible "Ode to Billie Joe." Instant Party works well as a quick and breezy introduction to this fine musician, but listeners looking for a little more balanced overview of this phase of his career should check out the two-disc The Best of the Concord Years.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett