JazzTimes is honored to premiere the video for “Never Let Me Go” by New Orleans-based vocalist Roderick Harper. The track, a cover of the Jay Livingston/Ray Evans classic first made famous by Nat King Cole, will appear on his album Evolving, scheduled for a November 20 release on RHM Entertainment.
“I’ve spent the last few years deep in a process of self-discovery and change,” Harper says. “I’ve been trying to understand myself, to peel off the cellophane and really get at what’s underneath. This album is the sound of me becoming the man I was always meant to be.”
Besides Harper on lead vocal, this version of “Never Let Me Go” features Robin Sherman on bass, Jamison Ross on drums, a string arrangement by Thomas Dawson, and—in one of his final recordings—the late great Crescent City pianist Ellis Marsalis, who contributes an aptly delicate and thoughtful solo intro. Harper describes Marsalis as “one of my mentors” and calls recording with him “a priceless gift … He taught me so much. I’m eternally grateful.”
Elsewhere on Evolving, another New Orleans icon, saxophonist Donald Harrison, not only guest-stars but also contributes a tune, “Infinite Heart” (with lyrics by Harper). Other tracks on the album include a rendition of Charles Mingus’ “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love”—a nod to Harper’s time with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra—and tributes to Shirley Horn (“The Great City”) and Betty Carter (“Look What I Got”).
For more information on Roderick Harper, visit his website.