(CD Zoho Music)
Although Harvie S (S for Swartz) is a new name to me (yes, I know, shame on me), his curriculum vitae reads like a who's who in black and jazz music. He has performed with people like Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, Toots Thielemans, Ray Barretto, James Brown, Chick Corea, Mike Stern, John Scofield, Michael Brecker, Tom Harrell, Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers or Grover Washington Jr. to name but a few.
This means either I should read the liner notes more carefully or I should dig deeper into the history of jazz and discover more bassists than just Curtis Lundy.
Judging from the quality of Harvie S' new album Texas Rumba he is really an artists worth discovering.
Harvie S is not only a very talented bassist but he's also a fine songwriter, so it's no surprise that he wrote nine of the eleven songs on his recent album. Harvie's music focuses mainly on Latin Jazz like the title Texas Rumba may suggest. Harvie says about his music: "There are many established Jazz musicians who have touched on this music, but not to the extent that I have. I've been finding a way to combine modern jazz with Afro-Cuban in my own personal way. I want my music to have fire and finesse. I use complicated forms and harmony, and I also use simple forms and simple harmony. I draw from many sources from the Caribbean and its African roots."
The result is a brilliant mixture of musical diverse Latin Jazz and Jazz songs with all but one being original compositions. Texas Rumba has been recorded live at Sweet Rhythm in New York City on May 20 and 21, 2003 and Harvie, his band and the audience certainly have had a great time.
Here you get something for your hips and feets as well as for your head. There are the uptempo songs like the title track or Good News that are just perfect to move your body across the dancefloor.
Two of my favourite cuts are Momentáno, a piano-only song written by Harvie's pianist Daniel Kelly and Before that carries on in the jazzy and deep mood Momentáno has set. Beginning with a piano solo, the theme of Before is than taken by Harvie's acoustic bass and here it really shows what magic you can achieve with just piano and bass.
Even more stripped down to just Harvie and his bass his a cover of Monk's Mood and I must admit that the bass is a very sexy instrument if played by the right musican.
Underneath It All is a great piece of jazz with fine contributions from Harvie's band members Scott Robert Avidon (saxophone) and Adam Weber (drums) and with its over ten minutes length it really has some kind of hypnotic quality.
Together with songs like the afro-cuban influenced Blindside or Facil this record is really a very good listening pleasure that sometimes reminds me of the best moments of Snowboy, Bobby Matos or Curtis Lundy. Or like Harvie says: "I would like to think that I am bridging a gap from Afro Cuban to modern jazz. I studied with the masters of the music and continue to do so. From my point of view the investigation is coupled with innovation. I am now sort of the distilling vessel for Latin, jazz, funk, Brazilian, African and free music - all marinated in a heavy dose of self expression." And he really bridges this gap.
Texas Rumba is an album you must have if you're into instrumental jazz and latin jazz with an edge.
(For more information visit harvies.com, zohomusic.com and cdbaby.com.)