Joel Harrison

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
Krentz Ratings:
3+3=7 (1996), 6/10
Range of Motion (1997), 5/10
Transience (2001), 4/10
Free Country (2003), 5.5/10
So Long Second Street (2004), 5/10
Harrison on Harrison (2005), 3/10
Harbor (2007), 6/10
The Wheel (2008), 6/10
Passing Train (2008), 5/10
Urban Myths (2009), 5.5/10
Search (2012), 6/10
Holy Abyss (2012), 5.5/10

San Francisco's guitarist Joel Harrison debuted with the ambitious 3+3=7 (1996) for three guitars and three percussionists, but then wasted his talent on the brief vignettes of Range of Motion (1997) and the confused hodgepodge of Transience (2001).

After relocating to New York, he continued to alternate off lightweight works such as Free Country (2003), a country-music tribute featuring Norah Jones on vocals, Dave Binney on alto sax, violinist Rob Thomas, pianist Uri Caine, and Tony Cedras on accordion, and its follow-up So Long 2nd Street (2004), not to mention the George Harrison tribute Harrison on Harrison (2005), with important and difficult projects such as the post-fusion Harbor (2007), featuring guitarist Nguyen Le, David Binney, and Jamey Haddad, The Wheel (2008), a six-movement suite for guitar and double quartet (string quartet and jazz quartet),

Passing Train (2008) is a collection of songs. Urban Myths (2009) sounds like a tribute to jazz-rock of the 1970s (including the funky Mood Rodeo). Search (2012), featuring saxophonist Donny McCaslin, pianist Gary Versace, violinist Christian Howes, cellist Dana Leong, bassist Stephan Crump, and drummer Clarence Penn is a mixed bag but it contains two of his high-brow compositions: Grass Valley and Beyond and A Magnificent Death.

Holy Abyss (Cuneiform, 2012) was a collaboration with Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati featuring trumpeter Cuong Vu, drummer Dan Weiss and keyboardist Roy Powell.

The Joel Harrison 19 was a 20-musician ensemble, documented on Infinite Possibility (december 2012), consisting of Ned Rothenberg (sax, clarinets and flute), Ben Kono (saxes, oboe, English horn, flute), Andy Laster (baritone sax), Rob Garcia (drums), Kermit Driscoll (bass), Michel Gentile (flute), Daniel Kelly (piano and keyboards) the tenor sax trio of Ben Wendel, Rob Scheps and Donny McCaslin, the trombone trio of Alan Ferber, Curtis Fowlkes and Jacob Garchik, the trumpet quartet of Dave Smith, Justin Mullins, Seneca Black and Taylor Haskins, Ben Stapp (tuba), Joe Daley (euphonium), and James Shipp (vibraphone).

America At War (january 2019) documents another large ensemble conducted by Matt Holman and consisting of the trumpet quartet of Seneca Black, Dave Smith, Ingrid Jensen and Chris Rogers; Marshal Sealy (French horn), Alan Ferber, Sara Jacovino and Curtis Hasselbring (trombone), Ben Staap (tuba), Ben Kono (English horn, soprano, alto sax & flute), Ken Thomson (alto sax and clarinets), Stacy Dillard (tenor sax), Jon Irabagon (tenor sax, flute), Lisa Parrot (baritone sax & bass clarinet), Daniel Kelly (piano), Gregg August (basses), Jard Schonig (drums), Ned Rothenberg (shakuhachi) and Wilson Torres (vibraphone, timpani, concert bass drum, bongos, bells & shaker).

Guitar Talk (recorded in 2019) documents duets with guitarists Ben Monder, Pete McCann, Steve Cardenas and David Gilmore, plus bassist Steve Swallow.

Joel Harrison And The Stardust Reunion Band (Alternative Guitar Summit, 2023) featured Liberty Ellman on guitar, James Brandon Lewis on tenor sax, Steve Gorn on bansuri flute, Jon Cowherd on keyboards, Chute Galewood on bass, Jamey Haddad, Josh Dion, Jerry Marrotta on drums and three vocalists.

The Great Mirage (recorded in 2022) documents improvisations of the electric guitar duo of Joel Harrison and Anthony Pirog accompanied by Stephan Crump (bass) and Allison Miller (drums).

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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