Eddie Harris

Mighty Like a Rose

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Mighty Like a Rose was Eddie Harris' follow-up to the smash Exodus to Jazz, and it probably comes as no surprise that it's mightily similar in sound and style. One can hardly blame Harris for taking essentially the same approach; it's not every day that a jazz artist's debut LP makes him a million-selling star overnight. And he struck while the iron was hot, completing the sessions for Mighty Like a Rose a month before the single edit of "Exodus" had even peaked on the pop charts. Perhaps that's why there are only two Harris originals this time around; the rest of the repertoire is mostly standards, plus another movie theme adaptation -- this time of "Spartacus" -- that would prove to be the first of many "Exodus" sequels Harris recorded in his early period (although pop-chart lightning never did strike twice). Harris is once again joined by his regular Chicago backing group of the period -- guitarist Joe Diorio, pianist Willie Pickens, bassist William Yancey, and drummer Harold Jones, who provide solid, appropriately easygoing support. Harris' playing strikes a balance between cool bop and straightforward soul-jazz, though it's possible to hear the influence of Detroiter Yusef Lateef beginning to creep in. It's all well-executed, and Harris' command of the highest ranges of his instrument is as lovely as ever, making this date worthwhile for anyone who loved the sound of Exodus to Jazz.

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