Jon Faddis / Billy Harper

Jon & Billy

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Jon Faddis and Billy Harper made an interesting, if at times mismatched, team on this 1974 date recently reissued by Evidence. Faddis was then laboring to find his own voice on trumpet; his mentor, Dizzy Gillespie, remained both his predominant influence and stylistic guiding light. Harper had won critical attention and praise for his work with Lee Morgan, and his robust tenor sax was well-displayed throughout this date. The times were probably responsible for Sir Roland Hanna sometimes turning to electric piano; his elegant figures, precise melodies, and harmonic interplay are not as expertly articulated on electric as acoustic, which he also plays. But the date's value is in hearing where Harper and Faddis, as well as jazz itself, were in the mid-'70s and then comparing how far they and the music have and have not come since then.

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