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Harold Land

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Biography

Harold Land is an underrated tenor saxophonist whose tone has hardened with time and whose improvising style after the 1960s became influenced by (but not a copy of) John Coltrane. He grew up in San Diego and started playing tenor when he was 16. After working locally and making his recording debut for Savoy (1949), Land had his first high-profile gig in 1954 when he joined the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet. Land performed and recorded with the group until late 1955 when due to family problems he had to return home to Los Angeles (where he has been based ever since). He played with Curtis Counce's band (1956-1958), recorded a pair of memorable albums for Contemporary (1958-1959), led his own groups in the 1960s, and co-led groups with Bobby Hutcherson (1967-1971) and Blue Mitchell (1975-1978). Harold Land continued freelancing around Los Angeles up until his death in 2001. Land recorded as a leader (in addition to Savoy and Contemporary) for such labels as Jazzland, Blue Note, Imperial, Atlantic, Cadet, Mainstream, Concord, Muse, and Postcards. His son, Harold Land, Jr., occasionally played piano with his groups. ~ Scott Yanow

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