A Barry Harris concert always includes some good-natured introductions and pointed comments about the music business, in addition to his brilliant piano playing. He's the last of the line from the bop era to come out of Detroit, with Kenn Cox, Hank Jones, Sir Roland Hanna, and Tommy Flanagan now deceased. These performances from Rennes, France with a local rhythm section remind us how great a player Harris has always been, but also that he has mellowed with age, post-stroke, and solidly settled into his golden years. There are many references to his heroes like Duke Ellington and to the music of Thelonious Monk, a lot of spoken explanations, and the kind of entertainment factor lacking in most modern jazz. While Harris talks to the audience a lot, his musicianship is what they came to hear. He does engage listeners in audience participation as on the stairstep melody of "Nascimento," and simplifies his advance rhythmic sense to them on "6, 5, 7, 3," but it is his love for Monk and Ellington that reveals his true colors. His take on George Shearing's "She" identifies his personable, easy swing, while a fast and loose "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" proves he's still the best bebop player on the scene. This set has become typical for Harris no matter where he plays or who accompanies him, a bit predictable but enjoyable. Barry Harris is always much more enjoyable in the moment, and recordings have never really done him justice -- you have to go out and see the man live. It should be on on everybody's to-do check list.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos