Take a look at Eddie's biography
Eddie Harris is recognized as one of the greats of jazz. His list of credits is long, and includes the first gold record by a jazz performer (that will have been Exodus in 1960) as well as numerous compositions such as Listen Here and Freedom Jazz Dance, which are now considered part of the standard jazz repertoire. You may remember his collaboration with Les McCann on the platinum selling album Swiss Movement. He also wrote most of the music for "The Bill Cosby Show" which ran from 1969 to 1971.
He was a master at the top of his form, and he recorded a tremendous album of ten original compositions for the Flying Heart label in April of 1994, entitled Vexatious Progressions. The sidemen are Phil Baker on bass, Ron Steen on drums, Thara Memory on trumpet, Peter Boe on piano and Janice Scroggins on piano. On this album, Eddie Harris plays pure, straight-ahead jazz like you might have expected to hear in the fifties, except it's brand-new. This is not the funky, electronic Eddie Harris. It's jazz! He plays tenor sax throughout.
Sadly, tragically, Eddie Harris passed away just two years after making this beautiful CD here in Oregon. His biography is on this site.
Quoting now from The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, Fifth Edition by Richard Cook and Brian Morton:
This tough and uncompromising record is the last great Eddie Harris album. Jan Celt asked Harris to make a no-frills straight-ahead record (in Wilsonville, Oregon!), with mainly local players and few familiar names (Boe is recognizable from his work with Robert Cray). Harris came up with ten originals, and the band play the hell out of them. Whatever it may lack in finesse (Memory won't be challenging anyone's recollections of their favourite trumpet playing), the music has a gutsiness which most of Harris's later records have had brushed away. It's a classic "local" jazz record, of a sort which hardly ever comes to any prominence now, but which has a far more natural feel than most major-label dates.
last updated February 16th, 2009 by Jan Chciuk-Celt