Remembrance: Live at the Village Vanguard

The Harper Brothers

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Remembrance: Live at the Village Vanguard Review

by Brian Bartolini

For their second major release, the Harper Brothers -- led by Philip (trumpet) and Winard (drums) -- serve up the estimable live album Remembrance from the legendary Village Vanguard in New York City. The album is dedicated to the brothers' recently departed father and their grandfather, and the title cut is one of its very best tracks. Written by older brother Danny Harper, it's a midtempo swinger presented with reverential passion and signed with committed solos, especially those of Justin Robinson (tenor) and Philip Harper. Other highlights include the lively horn interplay and notable contributions of Winard Harper on "CB," Stephen Scott's piano work on the cover of Horace Silver's "Kiss Me Right" and the band's collective chops, including bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa, on the lightning-fast set closer "Yang." Overall, the playing is clean, sharp and makes for a very enjoyable listen. This is definitive late '80s hard bop: excellent playing, marked by swinging, soulful melodies that don't break new musical ground or require great effort on the listener's part. This is a perfect album to load up in the car CD player and pass 70 minutes on the open road. Recommended for fans of this style as well as those just beginning to appreciate modern jazz.

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