Harold Land

Promised Land

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Veteran tenor saxophonist Harold Land returns from a seven-year recording hiatus with Promised Land, featuring Mulgrew Miller on piano, Ray Drummond on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums. (Sadly, this would be one of Higgins's last sessions.) One would expect nothing other than beauty and grace from these four revered players, and that's what they deliver, aided by the Audiophoric label's "m-phoric" recording technology, designed to capture live acoustic performance with exceptional fidelity. (You'll need to increase your volume and give your ears a chance to adjust.) There's a bit of Coltrane and Joe Henderson in Land's playing -- and perhaps a bit of Charlie Rouse, too, as Monk's "Ugly Beauty" reveals. Miller is in excellent form, dueting with Land on a nine-minute-plus "What's New" and taking crisp, inventive solos throughout. The program is evenly split: three standards and three of Land's fairly straightforward, modal pieces.

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