REVIEW: Harvie S’ “Cocolamus Bridge”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic You don’t have to be a bassist to understand how well Harvie S plays, but on the albums I’ve heard him on, the man plays the instrument as if it was the air he breathed. Now with an album under his own name, Cocolamus Bridge (Blue Bamboo Music) takes you on a journey that is not like any other. In other words, his music is damn good.

With help from Joel Fulgham (drums), Jose Miguel Yamal (piano), Woody Witt (tenor and soprano saxophones), Chris Cortez (guitar), and James Metcalfe (percussion), Cocolamus Bridge comes off like a jazz army troop with the kind of ammo meant to kill people with sound, but to bless them in a nice way before winning them over. Each song is over five minutes in length, with four of them surpassing the seven minute mark, and each of those tracks have the same kind of trusted feeling that one would get after hearing an ECM album. In other words, it’s a trusted brand with a trusted sound, and you take that going in and just listen for the save of being overwhelmed. With that said, will the music overwhelm you? Maybe that’s a big-headed claim but S is a musician who just takes command of the bass and turns it into his voice, it is how he speaks musicially but without flash. There’s a bit of confidence in that playing, but that comes from years of knowing what he is playing, and how he wants to play it. His cover of Wayne Shorter‘s “Night Dreamer” (from the 1964 album of the same name) is proof of how well S and friends perform individually and as a group, it’s just moving stuff.

REVIEW: Carol Morgan Trio’s “Opening”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Top notch bebop can be done by those who know the power of it, and trumpeter Carol Morgan, along with her trio Rich Derosa (drums), and the mysteriously named Harvie S. (bass) know the power, as they show in the beautifully organized album Opening (Blue Bamboo Music). The influence in the opening track, called “Opening Line”, is Don Cherry, so as you hear them get into a unified vibe, they are comfortable in letting each other know “let’s shine”. Boy do these buggahs shine, not only with covering some gems from the past (Kenny Dorham‘s “Prince Albert”, Bud Powell‘s “Celia”, and Horace Silver‘s “Nica’s Dream”), but both Derosa and S. are allowed to bring in their own material and hopefully get these songs to be performed for this and future generations.

I enjoy the slinkiness of “Nica’s Dream”, as Morgan sets things up to simulate a dream, perhaps a mindstate of comfort, as Derosa and S. help add more color and shapes into the audio picture. It’s a well done album, and if they played locally, I’d see them live.