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Lafayette Harris Jr. | Hangin' with the Big Boys

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United States - New York

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Jazz: Mainstream Jazz Pop: Piano Moods: Featuring Piano
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Hangin' with the Big Boys

by Lafayette Harris Jr.

Entertaining and sometimes edgy ensemble playing by one of New York's longtime pianist, composer and arranger's.
Genre: Jazz: Mainstream Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Blue Skies (Live)
3:18 $0.99
2. In a Sentimental Mood (Live)
6:15 $0.99
3. Hangin' with the Big Boys (Live)
3:32 $0.99
4. We in the House (Live)
7:25 $0.99
5. Don't Worry About It (Live)
0:54 $0.99
6. The Zombie Blues (Live)
6:54 $0.99
7. Little Kevin's Embrace (Live)
6:30 $0.99
8. Drinking Wine Blues (Live)
5:42 $0.99
9. The Wheelhouse (Live)
3:23 $0.99
10. The Very Thought of You (Live)
7:40 $0.99
11. They All Laughed (Live)
5:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Hangin' With The Big Boys...the story

We are all interconnected from the oldest to the youngest. And jazz, is a great example of how we achieve this successfully! At the time of this recording, the artists on my record ranged in age from their early 20's to almost 80!

I think ideas, communicated with love -across generations can yield magical results.

At the end of winter going into spring in 2013 I asked my musical compatriots that I'd been working with to help me celebrate ...gasp my 50th birthday!
At the time of this writing, it has come and gone, leaving 50 just a memory. But the legacy of turning 50 was captured in the memory of two very special days in May 2013. On the 29 of May my actual birthday, at a now defunct Shell's Bistro in Harlem I would play two sets of music while people ate my birthday cake and chattered.

It featured the full band that would make the studio date the next morning. I had been feeling very ambitious in my musical life (and a bit overly ambitious in my personal and business life as well, now that I think about it.) Using two singers on my own gigs was something that I had only recently tried. But I wanted to explore that sound that was reverberating in my head. So I asked two young ladies whom I'd met during my ten year tenure at the Lenox Lounge which had only ended a few months before on December 30, 2012 with the permanent closing the next night of The Lenox Lounge. Jazzmeia Horn and Noël Simoné Wippler were both in their early 20’s at the time. They were full of energy, beauty and talent and I wanted to combine them with my current working band. (Not that we’re bad looking either!)

I'd yet to record with my current band although we'd done many gigs together over the years. Will Terrill had been my first drummer when I started the open mic at the Lenox back in 2002. He'd been introduced to me by Max Roach in the mid 1990’s while he was the current drummer for Betty Carter.

He and the trumpeter Antoine Drye are each around ten years younger than myself. They bring a fresh and younger perspective to my music, some of which I'd done over 20 years before with Cindy Blackman and Terell Stafford, Don Braden and Lonnie Plaxico. With these younger musicians I learned to "let go" as they found themselves while trying to interpret my originals. Instead of me saying: “you need to do it like this or go listen to that”; they'd breathed new life into the music that reflected a more current sound! It was a great lesson!

George DeLancey, another 20 something year old, who was so advanced on the bass for someone that young, was a welcome addition. He possesses those great solo chops and big ears, sort reminding me of the great Lonnie Plaxico.

The saxophone player Caleb Curtis who I'd met at trumpeter Greg Glassman's annual New Years Day party that year was another young prodigious talent. A multi reed player who is also a gifted composer brought another dimension to my own compositions. As a matter of fact this would be the first time I'd have soprano sax on one of my own CDs!

Now for some extra kick and much needed experience to pull all this together was the master of the tenor sax: Mr. Houston Person.
I'd had the pleasure of working with him in Ernestine Anderson's band both on stage and in the studio. Plus I had started to perform and record with Houston as a sideman. (His Oct 2014 release: The Melody Lingers On we would record that following year.)
So after trying everything out at Shell's, the next morning we met at the recording studio. I'd wanted a place where we could play live and have an audience that would add a live flavor. Systems Two in Brooklyn was my first choice but it couldn't work out there.

Will Terrill recommended Zebulon Studio, owned by guitarist Saul Rubin. The piano was decent not great, and the recording setup was to be tested by the large ensemble I'd brought in. But Houston kept everything super loose and swinging. After a few laughs and a few "Fuck you's" we found our groove in the recording session.

It was interesting getting audience feed back while recording.
As a matter of fact, thanks to Jazz Judy we recorded a version of “Drinking Wine Blues” that didn't have my piano doing the melody along with Jazzmeia's very swinging vocal. It was a good suggestion and it made the final cut over the other versions!

One downer from the session was that Saul had let his HD video camera roll for my whole session. So he had video footage of us interacting with Houston and the audience. And it had a good room mic sound I was hoping to use for the applause track. After the session Saul asked me to come by with a hard drive and he'd copy the video footage for me. I waited too long and in the interim the videotape accidentally got erased.

But the music was fine and I was able to get a nice mix at Antoine's studio that he runs with his friend David Stoller in Queens.

So now I'm ready to make my second presentation to the world in as many years. It feels good to finally put out a record back to back.

It feels like I can just keep going and never stop.

“Hangin’ With Big Boys” here we come!

Lafayette Harris Jr.



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