Beaver Harris

Thank You for Your Ears

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Thank You For Your Ears is one of the final recordings under the leadership of drummer Beaver Harris, best known for his tenures in the Albert Ayler and Archie Shepp groups of the mid-to-late-'60s. Through the '70s and '80s, on records like In: Sanity, by Harris' 360 Degree Musical Experience, and Well-Kept Secret, co-led with pianist Don Pullen, Harris showcased a remarkably eclectic musical palette. Thank You For Your Ears, a well-recorded live performance from a 1984 German jazz festival, is no exception; here, Harris teams up with formidable baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett and Trinidadian steel drummer Vincent Taylor to tackle tunes written by Harris and Bluiett. Throughout the concert, Harris demonstrates a skillful, yet relaxed-sounding sense of swing. On "Sahara," a charming, calypso-flavored melody by Francis Haynes, Harris lays down a bouncy and propulsive beat which he keeps up for over ten minutes. Bluiett's bullish horn storms joyfully through the tune, going on to solo simultaneously with the talented Taylor. Though the odd instrumentation may seem something of a gimmick, Thank You for Your Ears is an extremely consistent, listenable release (aside from the static Bluiett solo, "Full, Deep, and Mellow"), and a good introduction for listeners not aware of Harris' bandleading and compositional talents. His always-buoyant "African Drums," which closes out the set, is a highlight. Introducing the tune, Harris solos freely while simultaneously suggesting a 6/8 time signature. [Worthy of special mention are the touching liner notes written by Harris' widow, Glo, in which she details her husband's tenacious last days. (Harris succumbed to cancer in 1991.)]

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