Marilyn Harris' hot CD of
L. A. Jazz All-Stars Big Band
Also featuring jazz legend
to see the
on the VIDEO page - CLICK HERE
|Check out these short sound clips for these ROUND TRIP titles:|
2) The Cards Keep Comin' MP3
3) I Don't Gamble MP3
4) Bebop High MP3
8) Cool MP3
9) Letting Go MP3
10) The Wisdom of Sam Kinison MP3
11) Twilight World MP3
12) They're Gonna Love Me MP3
To see score page samples and purchase selected big band & vocal arrangements
from ROUND TRIP CLICK HERE
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ROUND TRIP Liner Notes:
Marilyn Harris knows how to write songs clever songs, knowing songs, novel songs, heartfelt songs (ten of which appear here) but some of you already know this from her previous discs. What you may NOT know is that Mark Wolfram, her onstage-offstage partner, writes big, colorful arrangements: he mines the jazz orchestra for the range of colors and textures that Harris' songs inhabit so well. Blend in the all-star big band you hear here, alloyed by the hand-picked guest soloists, and how can you lose?
Actually, Marilyn tells you exactly how you can lose in her winning blues "The Cards Keep Comin'," then turns the tables with "I Don't Gamble," which showcases her lovely, lively voice: velvety one moment, clarion the next, and always up to the challenges of her own written wordplay. Did someone say wordplay? Listen to the retitled "Way Out Here In The Country," a song introduced by the innovative Don Ellis Orchestra of the late 60s. Or try "Bebop High," Harris' name-dropping ode to the seminal music of the 40s and 50s, written with another noteworthy singer and songwriter, Mark Winkler; here, they match their verbal flair to a melody reminiscent of the Miles Davis "Birth Of The Cool" recordings.
Harris and Winkler make a terrific team, whether the mood calls for frivolity or introspection. For the former, there's "Cool," which fits the grizzled tones of Bob Dorough so neatly that you can't believe he didn't write it himself; for the latter, check "That Afternoon In Harlem," their evocative portrait of a faded great on a fading day. Harris and Winkler also concocted the album's finale, "They're Gonna Love Me," her sharp commentary on appreciating artists within their own lifetimes; it cries out for a cover version by Mose Allison, and the sooner the better. This one manages to contain both good humor and morbid sarcasm, but that won't surprise listeners who've heard Marilyn's previous work; she has an unusual gift for balancing on the knife-edge between wit and rant. The balance shifts slightly on "The Wisdom Of Sam Kinison," inspired by the late and irrepressibly angry comedian, but it still holds.
Marilyn's songs deserve all this praise, but not at the expense of her skills as a vocalist, and two songs that she did not write complete the picture: the 1960s standard "If He Walked Into My Life" and the gorgeous Marian McPartland melody "Twilight World," to which the legendary Johnny Mercer later added lyrics to create an underworked gem. Harris brings a throaty passion to both these tunes, proving herself a wise interpreter of songs other than her own. Of course, the job gets a little easier when it involves a practiced group of jazz stars playing terrific and supportive arrangements, peppered by Pete Christlieb's galvanizing tenor sax solos.
As the map on this album's cover suggests, it's taken a while to get here. Marilyn first encountered big-band jazz in college, "savoring the newest releases by Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Bill Watrous, Don Sebesky's charts for Paul Desmond . . ." Three decades and better and a lot of musical mileage later, she finally gets to realize that schoolgirl crush on the arrangers of her youth. It turns out to be a round trip worth the wait.
What people are saying about ROUND TRIP:
"I loved every mile of ROUND TRIP."
"Marilyn Harris, one of the last of
the true practitioners of hipness, has blessed us with another
quality CD. Backed by the wonderful L.A. Jazz All-Stars
Big Band this CD always rocks, swings and knocks it out of the
park . . . This CD belongs in the library of anyone who loves
great writing and singing talent."
"No question about it, ROUND TRIP
is an entertaining and compelling recording that showcases a
superb performance by one of the best jazz vocalists in the business
today...A disc that will appeal to anyone who likes music."
"Vocalist Marilyn Harris' latest
release features a healthy supply of good time swing and blues.
Featuring some of Los Angeles' finest musicians, ROUND
TRIP finds Harris in excellent form. Her cheerful voice
is perfectly suited for large band ensemble work...mainstream
vocals are taken on an excellent journey on Harris' ROUND
TRIP. You should take the ride, too."
"In addition to Marilyn Harris'
non-forced, no nonsense, all grown up voice, this album shines
due to some great, new, swinging tunes. These are songs
the way songs used to be written, with clever, intelligent lyrics
and actual strong melody lines that go right where they should
. . . This is a very well conceived album of excellent tunes
by a voice who, it should be said, "gets it."
"There is a strain of jazz singer
that focuses on jazz's urbane tendencies, alternating between
a well-honed cynicism and raucous playfulness in much the same
way that Irving Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael did. Singer
Marilyn Harris runs in this fast crowd, often writing
her own clever wordplay and sometimes the music as well. Here,
joined by a studio big band and even guest singer Bob Dorough,
Harris creates a skilled program where her wit is matched by
tight arrangements that emphasize each punch line. Highlights
include an ode to bebop entitled "Bebop High," her
cutting "They're Gonna Love Me" (which mocks jazz's
tendency to embrace dead legends), and the altogether upbeat
"Round Trip." While Harris easily won over the
JazzWeek attendees with her solo performance, couching crisp
clean voice in these big band arrangements adds an undeniable
punch that should win over the rest of the radio panel."
"ROUND TRIP would be worth
the price for the L.A. Jazz All-Stars alone. As a bonus, we get
a terrific singer/songwriter, Marilyn Harris, who wrote
or co-wrote ten of the album's dozen selections and uses her
pleasing mid-range voice and effervescent personality to amply
enliven every one of them . . .Harris writes clever lyrics that
call to mind Dave Frishberg, Mose Allison, Jon Hendricks, Dave
Lambert, Blossom Dearie, Giacomo Gates and Bob Dorough
(with whom she duets on one of her compositions, "Cool")
. . her voice is crystal clear, her intonation solid and her
diction flawless . . . Dorough, by the way, nestles in so snugly
on "Cool" that one could believe he had written it
himself. There's one more engaging duet, with producer/arranger
Mark Wolfram on "Way Out Here in the Country."
Elsewhere, Harris is on her own, and throws herself eagerly into
every song . . .it's a great band, showcasing seasoned pros in
every section, precise ensemble work, nice charts and brief but
crackling solos by the likes of tenor Pete Christlieb,
altos Dan Higgins and Don Shelton, trombonists
Andy Martin and Bill Watrous, trumpeter Warren
Luening, guitarist Jim Fox and bassist Chuck Berghofer.
The songs are consistently clever and refreshing, from the opening
"Round Trip" to "The Cards Keep Comin',"
"I Don't Gamble," "Bebop High," "The
Wisdom of Sam Kinison" and "They're Gonna Love Me,"
Marian McPartland/Johnny Mercer's tender "Twilight World"
and the others already noted . . . this is a splendid album by
a wonderful singer and band, one that is easily recommended."
"I'm listening to ROUND TRIP
as I write this. Marilyn's writing, her voice and Mark's arranging
have never sounded better. It's such a rare treat to hear
great musicians doing what they do best. And on such a
great recording, too."
"ROUND TRIP is every bit as
great as I was expecting. A big congrats! Mark, your charts
are terrific. And, Marilyn, you have a wonderful voice. It's
SO exciting to hear music like this. This is the kind of music
that drew me into the profession."
"I'm playing ROUND TRIP for
a second time with no pause in between plays. It's REALLY
good! The tunes are crisp and engaging, and the musicians
and arrangements add a real level of class to the production."
"Your new CD (ROUND TRIP) is
wonderful! I absolutely love it! On every level;
performance, production, composing, arranging, choice of material....EVERYTHING!
"The Marilyn Harris experience
continues its giddy, inexorable rise towards unchartered peaks. This
road show is warm, funny, riotous and crispier than the perfect
French Fry. In a perfect world, everybody would know her
songs by heart. This world's lucky to have her."
YOUR comments on
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