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November 2003

Winard Harper Sextet
A Time for the Soul
Savant

A Time for the Soul (Savant), the latest sextet effort by drummer Winard Harper, has already evoked some comparisons to Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers-and it's hardly an unfair call, given an album that features Bobby Timmons' signature tune "Dat Dere." But Harper and his younger ensemble aim for more than emulation, and the disc does include some stirrings of originality. Harper, trumpeter Patrick Rickman and saxophonist Brian Horton all contribute decent songs; and the nonoriginals have been thoughtfully picked, with entries like George Cables' "Mr. Baggy Pants" leading the charge. Harper's group doesn't ever quite break free of its influences, but the results are still far from disappointing. Hopefully there'll be more from this crew in the future.

Originally published in November 2003
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