Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Harris Group Errands RTH Records 2013

An artist has to be willing to change, to evolve their sound professionally as they evolve on a more personal level. Ric Harris and The Harris Group are back with a slightly tweaked lineup and a slightly more world music vibe with the addition of a new bassist in Mason Cormie and special guests violinist Daniela Bisenius and flutist Jack Scott. The end result of the slight shuffling of personnel is a sound that stretches from coastal South Carolina to the streets of Prague. An expansive sound that is not confined to the more traditional modern jazz guitar of Harris but instead a sound that abandons a heavy swing sound to a more ethereal riff that runs from a waltz to blues to fusion and finally to Latin. Despite the incredible diversity in sound that could strip the gears of the average listener, Harris is able to reach that proverbial ebb and flow where melody is king and the lyrical sense of purpose pushes this incarnation of The Harris Group to expand their own musical comfort zone.

A deceptively quiet intensity move through "Bougainvillea" while the vibe is dialed back down to the more tranquil composition "The Commons." With drummer Tom Haugen highlighting the tune "Step Lightly" we have the closest attempt at a more traditional ballad while "Willoway Brook" including flutist Jack Scott is a chance for a sonic memory wipe after a night out at "The Brass Monkey" which is that local watering hole we all have a version of in our hometown but strangely no one ever mentions actually being there - the first sign of an epic night out!

Take a traditional modern jazz sextet and add an aural more ambient vibe and you begin to get a feel for The Harris Group and their latest effort Errands. Organic in presentation yet decidedly complex in execution, Ric Harris has hit  upon a winning combination for hopefully years to come!

4 Stars

Tracks: Errands; Bougainvillea; The Commons; King's Highway; Sidewalks; Step Lightly; The Brass Monkey; Willoway Brook; The Pelikan.

Personnel: Daniela Bisenius: violin; Mason Cormie: acoustic and electric bass; Ric Harris: guitar; Tom Haugen: percussion; Micah Rutschman: vibraphone; Jack Scott: flute.