Tenor saxophonist Billy Harper was immersed in church music as a youth and fulfilled a lifelong dream by combining a jazz group with a choir to interpret his original compositions during a concert at the Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Jacob in Szczecin, Poland for this DVD. The program is wide-ranging, incorporating Latin music, Kansas City swing, hard bop, fusion, free jazz, and more. His top-notch band includes pianist Francesca Tanksley, bassist Clarence Seay, drummer Taylor Newman Baker, and trumpeter Piotr Wojitasik, augmented by tenor saxophonist Maciej Sikela, trombonist Grzegorz Nagórski, and alto saxophonist Borys Janczarski. In spite of the challenges of reverb within the cathedral, the sound is quite good, while the camera work and editing are excellent. The DVD is also indexed so individual sections within the extended pieces can be viewed easily. A soulful, inventive, instrumental interpretation of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" is included as a separate bonus track.
Live from Poland Review
by Ken Dryden