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In His Hands

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Album Review

Not only is this gospel album a huge change of pace for Gene Harris, it is also a major departure for Concord Jazz, whose mainstream rep is so ingrained that one would have expected Harris to jump labels in order to do this. For Harris, this is not totally unexpected — a lot of his work with the Three Sounds had a strong gospel feeling — but here he goes all the way over and leans into the call-and-response rhetoric with an expansive fervor, while also getting in some blues-drenched licks with his right hand. To drive home the rootsy point, Harris provides backing for the gospel vocals of his daughter Niki and various friends from his Boise, ID, residence — all of whom do perfectly all right — and Brother Jack McDuff joins in on soulful organ now and then. While many traditional gospel flagwavers are included here, so are some pop songs ("Lean on Me," "Everything Must Change") that obviously have some of that old-time religious flavor. Some of the slower numbers drag on for a while, but the best tracks have a genuine vitality that ought to conquer any jazz-minded listener. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Biography

Born: 01 September 1933 in Benton Harbor, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

One of the most accessible of all jazz pianists, Gene Harris' soulful style (influenced by Oscar Peterson and containing the blues-iness of a Junior Mance) was immediately likable and predictably excellent. After playing in an Army band (1951-1954), he formed a trio with bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy which was, by 1956, known as the Three Sounds. The group was quite popular, and recorded regularly during 1956-1970 for Blue Note and Verve. Although the personnel changed and the music...
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In His Hands, Gene Harris
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