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Gene Harris: The Best Of The Concord Years

5.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 12, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

This 22-track retrospective represents well the 20 albums Gene Harris made for Concord Records over 14 years. The barrelhouse rocking pianist was obviously getting better with age, as one of his best discs was his last, Alley Cats (1999), made shortly before his death and represented here by a cover of the Crusaders' classic "Put It Where You Want It." The track is very indicative of the rest of this two-CD set, as it was recorded live, like nearly half of this compilation. Harris played always as if each tune were as familiar as "Put It," with tantalizing arrangement and distinctive soloists (sax men Red Holloway and Ernie Watts). Other standout guests throughout this well-paced set include bassist Ray Brown, trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison, and saxophonist Scott Hamilton. It's up to the very big tenor sax of the late Stanley Turrentine to kick the whole thing off with the funky blues number "Uptown Sop." Harris's successful big band takes on a pair of tracks and a number of slower tunes that drip with gutsy emotion, particularly Fats Waller's "Black and Blue" and Erroll Garner's smooth "Crème de Menthe." Other finger-snapping, toe-tapping highlights include one of the most entertaining arrangements ever of the nearly century-old "Sweet Georgia Brown," and Harris's daughter Nikki's duet with organist Jack McDuff on Z.Z. Hill's blues classic "Down Home Blues." --Mark A. Ruffin

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Uptown Sop
  2. Captain Bill
  3. Blues For Sam Nassi
  4. Summertime
  5. Don't Be That Way
  6. Listen Here
  7. Creme De Menthe
  8. You Are My Sunshine
  9. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
  10. Will You Still Be Mine
  11. Black And Blue
  12. Like A Lover

Disc: 2

  1. Blues For Rhonda
  2. This Little Light Of Mine
  3. Take The 'A' Train
  4. Sweet Georgia Brown
  5. Old Funky Gene's
  6. That's All
  7. Cottontail
  8. Lean On Me
  9. Down Home Blues
  10. Put It Where You Want It


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 12, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Concord Records
  • Run Time: 139 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004XN1C
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,510 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J. Lovins HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 21, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Concord Jazz, has given us a wonderful collection, one of the best pianist in the business, Gene Harris. During his Concord years, Gene Harris set a high level of musical excellence that is both inspiring and influential. With "THE BEST OF THE CONCORD YEARS", Concord Records is delighted to present some of Gene Harris most inspired performances in a special 2-CD retrospective.
Gene Harris's signature hard-swinging, soulful, blues-drenched piano style made him one of the most exciting and accessible pianists in jazz. Stand outs: "DON'T BE THAT WAY", "YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE", "BLACK AND BLUE", "THIS IS LITTLE GIRL OF MINE", what a classic arrangement, "SWEET GEORGIA BROWN", funky style comes through, "OLD FUNKY GENE'S", pure funk in the rough, terrific.
Gene Harris was triumphant on the jazz scene, powerful blues-based style, with non-stop talent. Highly, very highly recommend this one of a kind artist for your collection of - the best of jazz, and yes, "THE BEST OF THE CONCORD YEARS", with a legend and wonderful human being, Gene Harris!
Total Time: Disc One 70:09 on 12 Tracks/Disc Two 68:50 on 10 Tracks - Concord Jazz CCD2 4930 2 (2000)
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Well, I already have 2 Gene Harris cd's("Listen Here" and "Gene Harris plus one") but when I saw this one listed, I just couldn't resist trying another one and I certainly was NOT disappointed. I often let this cd repeat for most of the day and it never fails when I get a visitor, they will eventually say "Who's that on piano?" Well, that's Gene Harris. I mentioned in another review that I have been around music all of my life, but only discovered Gene last year when I caught one of his tracks on a jazz station out of Philly.He was truly remarkable. This particular cd is a great value with 22 tracks (2 discs) and, as far as I'm concerned, extremely listenable. Of course I have my favorites just like anyone else. "Don't Be That Way", "Take the A Train", "Cottontail", & "Blues For Sam" all rate high on my list, but the entire album is a real treat for jazz fans everywhere. It's a mixture of big bands and small groups. I only hope it doesn't take you as long as it did me to discover him.
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all I want to say about any gene harris c.d. is that you can expect the mood to be happy and bouncy and you can,t go wrong buying any of his music it will always leave you satisfied, its a shame his recordings had to come to an end , however you can now go to ray brown his longtime buddy who has continued gene,s style of music with several good pianists, where you can feel the gene harris touch.
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I discovered Gene Harris last year while listening to my local jazz station, and I'll forever mourn the fact that I never had the chance to hear him in person. This guy could play the blues with anyone- a huge, big hearted sound that gets your toes tapping. He could be tender, too- listen to Errol Garner's Creme de Menthe, one of the most beautiful jazz tunes you'll ever hear. This collection is a wonderful introduction to his art- buy it, and I'll bet you'll be back for more.
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This is BY FAR the BEST CD set I've EVER heard topping EVERYTHING in my collection. When I first played Gene Harris' "TRIBUTE TO COUNT BASIE" CD (which I can't recommend strongly enough) I thought this was the ultimate but something told me if I liked this I'd love "THE BEST OF THE CONCORD YEARS" and thank God I heeded my inner voice.

Harris' "That's All" really blew me away as it gradually built to an awesome, up-tempo, chanting climax like I've NEVER heard before or expect to again. "Like A Lover", "You Are My Sunshine" and "Down Home Blues" are equally breathtaking as Harris brilliantly blends standards, boogie, funk and blues into the kind of melodic perfection you'll want to experience over and over again.

In fact, all 22 tracks are masterpieces in their own right ranging from "Don't Be That Way" to a totally unique rendition of "Summertime" - and trust me if you like Basie, Garner and truly GREAT jazz, you'll treasure this CD. It's NUMBER ONE in my collection and it will be in yours too.
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Gene has got to be on everyone's top five piano players of all time. His dedication to rhythm, his lyrical right hand, his gospel roots, and his amazing left hand make him a joy to listen to. My huge regret: he died before I could get to a concert. What a man. Gene Harris. He was equally at home in big band or quartet. Dynamite player.
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Sadly, I found Gene Harris after his death. Fortunately he was well recorded and often, so his legacy lives on. A very full set of great jazz, much from live sets where the audience does not intrude on the recording. A must have set!
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As a jazz pianist of 30+ years, I know I had heard of Gene Harris, but was not that all familiar with him. I listend more to Oscar Peterson and Errol Garner for their interpretations of standards.

However, even knowing and hearing the other players, Gene is RIGHT THERE. His technic, phrasing and improv's are phenomenal. This man was the "essence" of jazz piano. I am sorry Gene, that I discovered you too late, as I would have loved to have heard you live.

Well, I can at least keep buying your CD's and I would recommend them to anyone who loves Jazz Piano!

Joe Mankowski
Buffalo, NY
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