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Lafayette Harris, Jr. Trio | Bend to the Light

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Barry Harris Bill Evans Herbie Hancock

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United States - New York

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Jazz: Piano Jazz Pop: Piano Moods: Featuring Piano
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Bend to the Light

by Lafayette Harris, Jr. Trio

Music with a swinging, singing tone from a piano trio with taste, a reverence for tradition and a feel for whats happening today!
Genre: Jazz: Piano Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Bend to the Light
5:06 $0.99
2. Take You Out
4:01 $0.99
3. We in the House
11:44 $0.99
4. 12 Bars
3:26 $0.99
5. Achern
5:34 $0.99
6. Japanese Love Poem
3:46 $0.99
7. Old Devil Moon
6:00 $0.99
8. Blues On the Edge
4:07 $0.99
9. Tenderly
6:42 $0.99
10. Geneva
4:14 $0.99
11. Bend to the Light (Voc. Version)
6:04 $0.99
12. We in the House (Short Version)
5:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Bend To The Light, which is my 7th CD, is a collection with music that is meant to leave people feeling good and inspired. Bending towards that positive energy in life is a lifelong goal for all of us and this music is inspired by that aspiration - especially the title cut. I wrote that tune for my sons who were quite active (thank god they are so strong and healthy) but, they doing the usual troublesome things that parents have to deal with: acting up, shouting, fighting, taking each others toys, etc. (They were about 5 and 7 years old at the time.)
Anyway, people who have heard my previous CD "Trio Talk", which is mostly standards, and enjoyed it say that this new one is even better. (I'll take it. Thanks!) I definitely feel I grew in the years between these discs. And I felt comfortable playing my own compositions in a trio setting rather than relying on the horns to fill out the sound palette.
A few of the tunes I had previously recorded and wanted to get another chance at saying what I wanted on them. That's one of the great things about being a musician is you get to try new things and do old things a different way! (Wouldn't it be great if all life situations had that possibility?)
Lonnie Plaxico who played on my first CD (Lafayette Is Here) recorded in 1992 is again the anchor of the disc. His forté as a bassist is his full and natural sound. He is at once, a great accompanist who pushes the music ahead, and great at taking the spotlight with his interesting and passionate solos. I first heard him on record back in the 1980's on some Cassandra Wilson recordings. His style was perfect for her singing and lucky for me to have him fit right in on my first and 7th release! (Lucky 7 baby!)

Willie Jones III is the youngest man in the band and brings a youthful buoyancy that I just love. He swings great in this session which we did in one afternoon out in New Jersey, just like he has for Roy Hargrove, Ernestine Anderson, Cedar Walton and many others. I really dug his tasty swing and fills on Herbie Nichols': "12 Bars". The modulation section is actually an arrangement of the tune by my old friend Roswell Rudd. Roswell was a protege of Nichols and turned me on to this tune that Herbie never got around to recording. 12 Bars gives me a chance to play in the stride tradition, which has always been a favorite piano style of mine.

The reason this CD itself is titled "Bend To The Light" came sort of by accident. I was listening to the takes of the CD and I had thought that "Bend To The Light" would be a vocal performance with no lyrics. So after the initial session with the trio, I brought the singer Jazzmeia Horn into Bear Productions to overdub the vocal. We had done 2 takes in the Jersey session and I had picked the 2nd one as that one sounded more complete to me. Also it had a vamp at the end that I thought would be great for Jazzmeia's talents as an improvisor. I was quite pleased with her session and was sure I had made up my mind and was done with Bend To The Light, the song.

A year later when I was putting the finishing touches on the project I still hadn't come up with a title for the CD. Randomly I thought "what the heck, let me listen to the other take of Bend To The Light". Happily I dug that take too. I decided there was room for both takes on the CD if I would start with take 1 and end with the take 2 version with vocals.

At the same time it came to me that since the tune was about my children and I love them so much, heck... I should call the CD "Bend To The Light"! It was an emotional moment for me alone in my office. I could almost feel the tears coming!!

Bend To The Light!



to write a review

Laurie Early

A fantastic jazz journey
"Bend to the Light" makes you feel at home with the very first, lovely, musical phrase of his title song. Lafayette Harris sets the tone with his light yet strong, resonant sound then invites you to join him on a fantastic jazz journey through a selection of a dozen pieces: modern and smooth, nostalgic yet hip, well-loved standards, and internationally inspired originals. I found his original, "We in the House", especially engaging, Willie Jones III, on drums leads into a pulsating bass line with Lafayette dropping cascading notes from above like rain; at the midpoint is a tender bass solo by Lonnie Plaxico. Reading the liner notes, I was moved to learn Lafayette was inspired by "the journey from Africa to the Americas by those stolen Africans and their captors." Each piece on "Bend to the Light" is a beautiful jazz voyage – I am glad I got my ticket to ride along.

Dan Mason

Versatile and Moving!
Pianist Lafayette Harris Jr.’s newest CD, Bend To The Light, is another fine example of his superb musicianship. This collection of mostly originals--with a few standards added for good measure--shows Harris (with indispensible help from Lonnie Plaxico on bass and Willie Jones III on drums) at his sensitive, complex, moody and playful best. As a singer who has perofrmed with him many times, I will always attest to the variety of musical colors he can create using a delicate, yet commanding touch. Some of the standout tracks include the hypnotic, 11-minute epic, We In The House, the joyful title cut (in vocal and non-vocal versions), a grooving, bouncy walk through the Luther Vandross hit "Take Me Out" and a rich, reflective interpretation of "Tenderly". Harris revisits a couple of his compositions from earlier releases and fans of his work will enjoy contrasting the new and old takes.