Barry Harris Knows What Time It Is

There aren’t a hell of a lot of elder statesmen who still bring bop’s intrinsic bustle to the piano, but the 80-year-old Barry Harris enjoys the music’s physical aspects. Don’t need to tell you he’s also a harmonic whiz, do I? The maestro recently told me that there aren’t a lot of improvisers out there playing true bop. “You might hear patterns that are close, but you won’t hear triplets, which you need. People are forgetting how to play it.” Harris helped refine the bop language, and this week at the Village Vanguard he’s sure to throw some triplets into the mix. He’s supporting the new Live At Rennes. Thanks to NPR, you can hear one of his sets live at the famed jazz cellar this evening.

Josh Jackson has a sweet interview with Harris at the Checkout. Listen to him throw a fugue on Bird at the start of the show.

Here’s Harris chatting it up with Leonard Lopate.


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