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Donald Harrison: The Chosen

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At this point in his career-25 years after his breakthrough New York Second Line album with partner Terence Blanchard and following invaluable apprenticeships with Art Blakey and Eddie Palmieri-alto saxophonist Harrison has become a seasoned veteran and respected bandleader-talent scout (his young nephew and discovery, trumpeter Christian Scott, has already struck out on a promising career of his own). On The Chosen, his fifth outing for Nagel Heyer, Harrison is in the company of a new crew of gifted youngbloods in pianist Victor Gould, bassist Max Moran and the sensational drummer Joseph Dyson Jr. Together they cover a wide swath of stylistic territory, from the all-out burn of Trane’s “Mr. P.C.,” featuring an intense sax-drums breakdown between Harrison and Dyson, to a relaxed, loosely swinging rendition of “If I Were a Bell” full of tricky bits of metric modulation, to the infectiously melodic title track and the rousing second-line groover “I’m the Big Chief of Congo Square,” in which the alto saxophonist (an authentic Mardi Gras Indian Chief) resurrects his rich New Orleans heritage, harkening back to his great 1991 recording Indian Blues.

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