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Jazz - Released September 27, 2004 | ACT Music

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
This is an unusual set in which singer-guitarist Joel Harrison says that his goal is to "locate the confluence of Miles Davis and Johnny Cash." The music has country-style vocals from Harrison that alternate rather than blend in with adventurous jazz featuring saxophonist Dave Binney. The repertoire includes country pieces (from Jimmy Webb and Merle Haggard among others), some gospel numbers and a few recent originals. Although country music and jazz had fused together in the 1930s to form Western Swing, this CD has nothing in common with that in that the jazz is quite modern and the country singing is stark and emotional. Does it succeed? It will to listeners who enjoy both idioms of music and want to hear something very different than the usual. ~ Scott Yanow
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Bebop - Released August 31, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Jazz - Released April 14, 2003 | ACT Music

This is certainly an intriguing release. Guitarist Joel Harrison recorded a dozen songs associated with country music, some of them quite traditional, but he recast them in surprising ways, making the CD title of Free Country fit quite well. Sometimes his steel guitar pays respect to the melodies and at other times he freaks out a bit on his electric guitar. None of the vocalists are that outstanding, and an instrumental "This Land Is Your Land" receives a surprisingly downbeat rendition. Norah Jones sings "I Walk The Line" and "Tennessee Waltz" quite straight, showing that she is more comfortable in country music than in jazz, but making one wonder how she created such a big stir in 2003. However, Dave Binney's alto playing is a major asset on some of the more adventurous interpretations, and violinist Rob Thomas, pianist Uri Caine, and Tony Cedras on accordion add to the changing atmospheres of this strange but consistently colorful set. Well worth checking out for listeners with extremely open minds. ~ Scott Yanow
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Pop/Rock - Released November 17, 2011 | Sunnyside

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Bebop - Released April 13, 2007 | HighNote Records

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Contemporary Jazz - Released March 9, 2014 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Jazz - Released June 18, 2013 | Sunnyside

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House - Released October 22, 2007 | Soul Science Recordings

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House - Released November 3, 2008 | Soul Science Recordings

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Bebop - Released May 5, 2009 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released October 14, 2005 | HighNote Records

Harrison on Harrison finds jazz guitarist Joel Harrison investigating the music of rock icon George Harrison. Featuring a stellar ensemble including, among others, saxophonist David Liebman, pianist Uri Caine and drummer Dan Weiss, Harrison has crafted an adventurous and forward-thinking album that celebrates not only the former Beatle's superb songcraft, but also his sense of musical exploration. That exploration found George Harrison delving into everything from British folk music to gospel, psychedelic rock and ultimately Indian music. Joel Harrison fully embraces such eclecticism here, bringing all these styles to bear on tracks like "Within You Without You" (off the Beatles' 1967 classic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), expanding the raga-psych elements of the original into a post-bop wilderness of angular improvisation. Similarly, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" goes from a woozily funky Indian beat on the main verse, to a drunken soft-rock bridge that sounds something like guitarist Adrian Belew covering Burt Bacharach. Also exciting is "Taxman," which Harrison turns into an off-kilter boogaloo on the main theme, only to morph into a driving and expansive modal exercise for the solos. Harrison on Harrison is an inspired, engaging and superbly executed tribute to a true music original. ~ Matt Collar
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House - Released April 7, 2008 | Soul Science Recordings

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House - Released July 30, 2007 | Soul Science Recordings

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Contemporary Jazz - Released July 6, 2015 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Country - Released July 14, 2017 | Whirlwind Recordings

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Miscellaneous - Released January 9, 2016 | Joel H

Jazz - Released March 20, 2010 | Innova

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3 stars out of 5 -- "Some of THE WHEEL's most exciting moments come out of carefully mapped passages, especially the kora-like plucked strings on 'Blues Circle' and the bowing-and-blowing unisons on 'Rising.'"
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Jazz - Released January 18, 2011 | Sunnyside