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The Joe Harriott Quintet - Movement & High Spirits Original recording remastered

5 customer reviews

Price: £14.99
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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Joe Harriott Quintet - Movement & High Spirits
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Total price: £33.97
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Vocalion
  • ASIN: B008VQB6Z8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,156 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Jamaican-born alto saxophonist Joe Harriott was among the greatest exponents of jazz ever to have resided in the British Isles. His searing, endlessly inventive improvisations and incredible virtuosity have secured him a place in the jazz pantheon, yet at the time of his death in 1973, he was a forgotten figure, ostracized from the wider jazz community. This was largely as a result of his excursions into what has since become known as free-form jazz, a path Joe trod in the 1960s with a passion and fervour that many of his contemporaries perceived as a waste of both his skills and energies. As often happens with visionaries such as Joe Harriott, however, the passage of time has shown that he was indeed an innovator, and that his free-from jazz explorations were not only a hugely valid musical statement but also Joe's way of freeing himself from the shackles of Charlie Parker's influence. As Joe himself famously remarked: "Parker? There's them over here can play a few aces too." And nowhere is that statement better exemplified than in the two albums - 'Movement' and 'High Spirits' - collated on this Vocalion reissue. They feature the Joe Harriott Quintet at the very top of its game, blending free-from material with more conventional forms of modern jazz. Joe is heard alongside the inimitable Shake Keane, the Caribbean-born trumpet and flugelhorn virtuoso. Both albums were originally issued in mono only, but Vocalion has sourced this reissue from the original stereo master tapes, thereby allowing this wonderful music to be heard in its true splendour. Track listing: MOVEMENT (1964) (CD1): Morning Blue, Beams, Count Twelve, Face in the Crowd, Revival, Blues on Blues, Spaces, Spiritual Blues, Movement / HIGH SPIRITS (1965) (CD2): Home Sweet Heaven, If I Gave You, Go into Your Trance, You'd Better Love Me, I Know Your Heart, Was She Prettier Than I?, Forever and a Day, Something Tells Me

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. W. Kindness on 21 Jan. 2013
For fans of Joe Harriott and forward-looking jazz in general, this is a welcome re-issue on CD. "Movement" is what really matters here, and it's almost a crime that it was a deleted super-rarity of a collector's item for so long. "Free from" laid out the blueprint for Harriott's own conception of abstract music or "painting pictures in sound" as he put it, "Abstract" consolidated and refined the idiom, but the abstract tracks on "Movement" take this path even farther. The contrast with the straight-ahead tracks which constitute almost half the album put the abstact ones into sharper relief. It's a thoughtful approach to abandoning one or more of the strictures that governed hard bop at the time, changes, bar lines, regular time etc., and is actually more adventurous than what Ornette Coleman was doing then, maybe having more in common with Mingus's "extended form." In "Spaces" for example there are plenty of rests, but each instrument plays unaccompanied except during the theme; it has moments of great lyricism. But the stream of consciousness this music involves also allows for moments of musical anger or paranoia, as in "Beams". I can't help feeling people like Barry Guy and John Stevens were influenced by these records. It may be significant that after this Harriott recorded no more abstract music; maybe he thought this was as far as he could take it. The interplay of all the musicians is a delight to hear.
The straight ahead tracks on "Movement" are concise, lively and swinging and show how Harriott, Keane and the others had mastered the hard bop idiom.
"High spirits" is an album of Noel Coward tunes, more light-weight of course but still eminently swinging and for all Harriott fans definitely worth hearing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Draper on 29 Jun. 2013
It is the Movement CD that makes this re-issue essential. I've lived with this music on vinyl since 1964 in mono. It is wonderful to hear it in stereo for the first time. The re-mastering by Dutton is superb. The CD has somewhat lighter bass than the LP, but the sound stage is very clear and the music sounds open and airy. The tracks are a sequence of straight-ahead swinging hard bop pieces interspersed with free-form music. The two free-form tracks, Beams and Spaces, really benefit from stereo sound. They are emotionally draining in their intensity, and on Spaces the inky-black silence in the `spaces' only adds to the intensity. They would not be out of place in a classical concert - they are just really fine music. Blues on Blues is beautiful, delicate, sensitive music. The hard bop tracks in between come as a relief, and they really swing. The final track, Movement, is plaintive and anguished and then just dies away, and you will continue to sit in silence. You've really been taken on an emotional journey.
I've returned to this album many times over nearly 50 years, and I highly recommend it. This band was among the finest in the UK, and I think this was their finest LP. Surely the group Back Door must have listened to this music.
And now, could Dutton work the same magic on another rare British LP from 1964, Boom Jackie Boom Chick by Paul Gonsalves on Vocalion...?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jazz Guy on 2 July 2014
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Joe Harriott was a brilliant innovator in free jazz, way ahead of Ornette Coleman in many respects, with the whole band improvising. Movements (1964) is split between free improvised pieces and more straight jazz pieces. I know that many more conservative jazz fans found his free jazz difficult, however, to contemporary jazz ears, in 2014, there is much that seems mainstream even in these pieces, and the true genius of the Joe Harriott/ Shake Keane partnership really shines through.

The High Spirits (1964) album highlights the no win situation Harriott was in. From one side he was accused of self indulgence for his free improvised pieces but when this album, of tunes for the musical of the same name (which itself was an adaptation of Noel Coward's Blythe Spirit) he was accused of being too conservative. By anybody's standard this is, however, a brilliant album. The vast majority of his contemporaries would have been over the moon to have recorded such an album.

Joe Harriott's innovation and playing, although recognised by some, has never received the plaudits it deserved. His partnership with Shake Keane is at least as great as the Diz and Bird or Miles and Coltrane partnerships.
The Harriott's last recording was his 1969 album with Amancio D'Silva. He spent his remaining years scraping a living until his death from cancer in 1973, by which time he was essentially destitute. For such a brilliant artist this is absolutely appalling; the music industry in general and jazz audiences in particular should feel ashamed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Iain Scott on 30 Jan. 2013
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Great to see some of this excellent artist's work at last becoming available on CD. How about somebody bringing out Hum Dono as well?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Brandon on 9 Dec. 2014
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I remember back in the 80s hearing Joe Harriott on BBC Radio Jazz Club and marvelling at the wide range of moods and textures his quintet produced. One number he played then was "I know your heart" from "High Spirits". It has taken me a long time to venture into this jazz adaptation of songs from the musical, and I'm so pleased I have done so! Wonderful transformations of already wonderful songs! The other CD has some really tasty jazz on it too, with at times crisp and punchy and at others really delicate playing. Some of the tracks are from the group's more experimental repertoire, so-called 'free form' jazz. From experience I know this kind of jazz is great fun to play, but it is for some people not so rewarding to listen to! But it's worth the effort! A good buy at a great price!
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