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Breakin' It Up

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Album Review

Barry Harris' debut Argo session captures a uniquely soulful interpretation of bop sensibilities. Light yet commanding, Breakin' It Up moves from strength to strength, belying the pianist's relative youth and inexperience. Paired with bassist William Austin and drummer Frank Gant, Harris dispenses with frills, paring familiar melodies like "Ornithology" and "All the Things You Are" to their absolute essentials. The overall approach is far more straight-ahead than his subsequent efforts, yet his signature melodic ingenuity is firmly in place. Breakin' It Up was reissued on CD by Jazz Beat in a two-fer alongside Burnin', recorded a day later under the leadership of saxophonist Sonny Stitt.

Biography

Born: 15 December 1929 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the major hard bop pianists of the last half of the 20th century, Barry Harris has long had the ability to sound very close to Bud Powell, yet he can also do convincing impressions of Thelonious Monk, and has his own style within the bop idiom. He was an important part of the Detroit jazz scene of the 1950s, and has been a jazz educator since that era. Harris recorded his first set as a leader in 1958, and moved to New York in 1960, where he spent a short period with Cannonball Adderley's...
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Breakin' It Up, Barry Harris Trio
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