Bill Harris

The Bill Harris Memorial Album

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The Bill Harris Memorial Album Review

by Scott Yanow

Originally recorded for the Mode label and last reissued by Xanadu in 1983, this was trombonist Bill Harris' last record as a leader (although he lived until 1973). A unique stylist with a wit and sound of his own, Harris is heard in top form with a quintet also including vibraphonist Terry Gibbs, pianist Lou Levy, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Stan Levey. Bob Dorough dropped by to help Gibbs and Harris on the scat vocal of "Lemon Drop." All eight of the selections are remakes of songs recorded by Harris with Woody Herman's First and Second Herds, but obviously these quintet versions sound a bit different than the original big-band jams. Among the highlights of the sadly out-of-print LP are "Your Father's Moustache," "Apple Honey" and "Early Autumn," in addition to the jubilant "Lemon Drop."