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Kevin Harris Project: Museum Vol. 1

There’s no suggestion in pianist Kevin Harris’ liners that Museum Vol. 1 is in any way an exercise in minimalism. The soulful postbop record is crowded with repetition, however, certainly in Harris’ otherwise-admirable originals. Vamps, riffs, phrases and figures are recycled endlessly. That’s not always a bad thing, but with seven of the album’s eight tunes clocking in at over seven minutes, the repeats start to seem like mere filler.

For example, “The Dinosaur Suite” (co-written with Steve Langone, one of the album’s two drummers, though it’s Richie Barshay who plays on it) centers on a left-hand Harris vamp; the leader’s right hand improvises first, then comes Jason Palmer’s stunning trumpet, but it’s the vamp that dominates-for over two minutes. On “Pinched Nerve,” saxophonist Rick DiMuzio seems to end his solo with a written coda … then plays that coda four more times. Harris is the worst offender, exhausting a fine tune (“BBBB”) with a solo that continually folds back on itself. (The three covers fare better, particularly bassist Kendall Eddy’s feature on “You Are My Sunshine.” But Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”-which has a wonderfully affective vocal by Harris-begins and ends with a dark piano figure that apparently runs on a loop.)

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