Swinging straight ahead jazz played by top players with national credentials, great arrangements. This album has been described as "a hidden gem" and an album that "shines all over". If you liked the old Blue Note and Presige sessions by the jazz greats, get this album!
Originally debuted as one of the "Top 5 Albums added to radio airplay" and rose to the #20 spot on the Top 40 CMJ Jazz Chart.
The Bill Harris Quintet: Inside-Out (2012)
By EDWARD BLANCO, AllAboutJazz.com
Published: March 29, 2012
Portland, Oregon saxophonist Bill Harris is an educator, sideman and member of organist Steve Hall Quintet when not leading his own band. Growing up listening to jazz masters Sonny Stitt, John Coltrane and Phil Woods among others, he began playing woodwinds while in second grade and has favored the alto and tenor saxophones ever since. Though a veteran of the Portland, Oregon jazz scene since 1964, Inside-Out is his first outing as leader, an amazing top-notch recording of post-bop material that shines all over.
The album is one of those hidden gems sparkling with sensational renditions of jazz standards from Tad Dameron, Thelonious Monk, Harold Arlen and others. With stellar arrangements from Hall, the disc boasts nine classic standards and a single original ("Boston After Dark") penned by Harris when he taught at Boston's Berklee College of Music decades ago. The music is outstanding, the band, is just as impressive. Harris brings together four players with national reputations and, after one sampling of the album, it's clear why.
Trumpeter and flugelhornist Paul Mazzio was a sideman for Tony Bennett and a member of Woody Herman's renowned Thundering Herd, while pianist George Mitchell spent 30 years with Diana Ross and as a sideman with saxophonist Sonny Stitt. Bassist Dave Captein has worked with jazz greats Jack Sheldon and the late Bud Shank among others, while longtime drummer Dick Berk has performed with everyone from Billie Holiday and Charles Mingus to Freddie Hubbard and Brazilian vibraphonist Cal Tjader.
With an approach reminiscent of Phil Woods, Harris peels off the first of many sizzling alto solos on the opening "You're My Everything," sharing the spotlight with Mazzio, Mitchell and Captein on a dazzling bop-infused rendition of this timeless classic. Gary Burton once used Victor Brasil's obscure "Profiles" in a Berklee Jazz improvisation class attended by Harris, who copied the changes and has used it ever since. The boppish flair of the set continues with Harris's tenor voice on "I Hear A Rhapsody" and Clare Fischer's "We'll Be Together Again."
The bossa-flavored "Pensativa," is the defining pieces of the disc, featuring Harris and crew glowing with incredible solos. The music is of apparent significance to the saxophonist for both his record label and website are titled after this Fischer song. Harris' alto continues to sing on Harold Arlen's "A Sleepin' Bee" and takes to a softer, slower tempo on Tad Dameron's soulful ballad, "Soultrane." Closing with a strong statement on Monk's "Little Rootie Tootie," Harris emerges as a voice to be reckoned with in a solid performance and an impressive debut that should have the critics buzzing and audiences clamoring for more. Lending an exciting new sound to a host of familiar jazz standards, Harris may well turn the jazz world Inside-Out with this compelling first outing.
Do you have enough jazz wrinkles to remember the consistently great recordings from labels like Blue Note and Prestige? One after another, they turned out timeless small group sessions that went a long way toward defining the very essence of jazz.
Well, Bill Harris has, perhaps unknowingly, applied this wise concept on an absolutely terrific new CD. He gathered a group of premier players in the studio; put some fresh, invigorating Steve Hall arrangements on their stands; and in effect said, “You guys take it from here.” What resulted was a flawless, classic blowing session featuring Portland giants Paul Mazzio, flugelhorn, George Mitchell, piano, Dave Captein, bass, and Dick Berk, drums -- in addition to Harris’s super reed work. Everybody gets generous opportunity to strut their solo stuff, and always with superb taste.
And Harris also “gets it right” in choosing ideal quintet vehicles that include “You’re My Everything”, “I Hear A Rhapsody,” “We’ll Be Together Again,” “I’ll Get By” and “A Sleepin’ Bee.” From the jazz book, there’s “Pensativa,” “Soultrane” and “Little Rootie Tootie.” A Harris original. "Boston After Dark", and the never-before recorded "Profiles" by Brazilian sax player and composer Victor Brasil completes a straightahead CD with no fluff, no pretense and no frosting. You'll love every minute of it! --George Fendel, KMHD Radio
Bill Harris Quintet/Inside Out: A working musician mostly toiling in the hinterlands for longer than you've been alive, sax man Harris grew up eating small group jazz for the smaller jazz labels for breakfast. He's turned the cheap budgets behind those records into something intimate, swinging and full-blooded. This set finds him working out with his pals in Portland, Oregon, the stomping ground that finds him being the major domo grande fish in a small pond and delivering the goods like a cat that has sweated blood in New York for years. He's probably had a better lifestyle along the way which is also reflected in his music. A solid mainstream groover for hip cats that like it nice and easy and always inviting. Well done. --Chris Spector - Midwest Record - www.midwestrecord.com
With all of the music that I receive on a regular basis from a number of sources, I like to “spend time” with it. That’s a poetic way of saying that I want to concentrate my time on the music and only the music, and there are moments when I get some stuff and I’m thinking “do I have to hear this?” In this case, this was an album that I wanted to “spend time” with, and I’m glad I did.
The Bill Harris Quintet‘s Inside Out (Pensativa Music) is the kind of jazz albums I wish were not so much plentiful (because there’s more than a healthy amount out there), but that it would be heard by more people than its intended target audience. The musicians on this album play the kind of jazz that makes you wish you were there to hear it live, or to witness it in the studio, as they all share a common bond that allows them unify and play some classics (“Little Rootie Tootie”, “I Hear A Rhapsody”, and “Pensativa”, the latter a great composition that will renew people’s love for composer Clare Fischer, who passed away in January. Together, Harris (saxophones) along with Dick Berk (drums), Dave Captein (bass), George Mitchell (piano), and Paul Mazzio (trumpet and Flugelhorn) honor the spirit of jazz both of the past and present, and continue the legacy of jazz music in Portland, Oregon that has been a part of the city for over 75 years. --John Book, This Is Book's Music, Published March 22nd, 2012 at 4:28 pm in Music Reviews
Bill Harris - Inside-Out 4/3
O's Notes: The Bill Harris Quintet is Paul Mazzio (t), George Mitchell (p), Dave Captein (b) and Dick Berk (d). Harris plays alto and tenor sax on his debut as a leader. While they focus on standards, the arrangements are quite fresh and the music really swings on tunes like "A Sleepin' Bee". This is not all about Harris as he shares the spotlight with the quintet as on "Little Rootie Tootie" featuring Mazzio. We like the feel of it and suspect there is a lot more coming from Bill Harris. --D. Oscar Groomes O's Place Jazz Magazine, http://www.OsPlaceJazz.com
Some of the radio stations that have played selections from The Bill Harris Quintet's Inside Out:
Direct TV Jazz Channel, Comcast Jazz Channel, WDET Detroit, WSCA Portsmouth NH, KSVY Sonoma CA, KRFC Fort Collins, CO, M3Radio.com, WDNA Miami, M3 Radio Online, KOOP Radio, Austin TX, KMHD in Portland, WICN in Worcester MA, KTEP in El Paso TX, WWUH in Hartford CT, WWVU in Morgantown WV, WLSU Wisconsin Public Radio, KOTO Telluride CO, WESM Princess Anne MD, KBEM Minneapolis, WUCF Orlando, WHFC-FM Bel Air MD, WRTC Hartford CT, KIOS Omaha NE, KIOS Omaha NE, WBOI Fort Wayne IN, KZMU Moab UT, KPOV Bend OR, KHNS Haines AK, South Dakota Public Broadcasting KUSD, Jazz & Blues Tour Radio The Netherlands, Radio Adelaide - Adelaide, Australia, KSFR Santa Fe NM, KLBC Long Beach CA, KNTU North Texas State University Radio (Dallas/Denton), KJLU Jefferson City MO, KUNV Las Vegas, WDCE Richmond VA, WDPS Dayton OH, WDNA Miami, CJAM Windsor Ontario, 91.3 FM KVLU Beaumont, Texas, WUSF Tampa FL, JazzRadio.com, KCHO Chico CA, KDNK Carbondale CO, KOPN Columbia MO, KWLC Decorah, IA, WFWM Frostburg Md, WPTC Williamsport PA, WUVT Blacksburg VA, Radioio.com Jazz Channel, KASU Arkansas State University Radio, WCLK Atlanta, KHSU Arcata CA, Taintradio, Raleigh N.C., WCUW Worcester, WRUW Cleveland OH, WDIY-FM Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton PA, KAFM Grand Junction CO, KGLT Bozeman MT, KSDS San Diego, WVTF Roanoke VA, WAMC Albany NY, WTJU Charlottesville VA, WRIR, Richmond VA, WWSP Stevens Point WI, KSJS San Jose CA, WGXC Hudson NY, KSHU Huntsville TX, WPRB Princeton University, KVNF Paonia CO, WKPS University Park PA, KXCV Marysville MO, WVIA Pittston/Wilkes Barre, PA, KIPO Hawaii, KIPM, Hawaii, KIPH Hawaii, KWIT Sioux City, IA, CIUT Toronto, WPRB Princeton NJ, La Guagua Radio Buenos Aires Argentina, KVPR Fresno, CA, WEHC Emory VA, Radio Verulam StAlbans UK 92.6 Fm, WTEB-WKNS-WBJD-WZNB-WHYC-Greenville, NC - 88.1