Wendell Harrison, “It’s About Damn Time”

By: Edward Blanco

Detroit jazz legend, saxophonist Wendell Harrison releases his first album in seven years with the very dynamic “It’s About Damn Time” presenting variations of straight jazz, hard funk and soulful rhythms. The founder of the 1970’s Tribe records Detroit jazz collective as well as Rebirth, Inc., a non-profit jazz performance and education organization, Harrison is a lively saxophonist, composer, educator and entrepreneur with more than a dozen albums to his credit as leader.

Except for Clifford Brown’s magical standard “Daahoud,” and “Take Time Out” by Pamela Wise—Harrison’s wife—the ten-piece repertoire is all original material from the saxophonist. Using a piano-less core quartet for the majority of the tunes, Harrison invites guitarist Vaughn Klugh, bassist Damon Warmack and percussionist Dan Schmatz for this project. Amp Fiddler graces the album on keyboards and vocals on the soulful “Love Juice,” while Linda Boston does the vocals on “Take Time Out.”
The funky style is evident on such tracks as the opening “Urban Expressions,” Love Juice,” and the fast-pace “Lord Not Another Lover.” “First Love” and “Pojo” fall in the straight- ahead jazz category along with the best piece on the album, “Where Am I,” where the saxophonist is especially pronounced on a tender tenor solo. Though it has been seven long years since saxophonist Wendell Harrison has produced another jazz outing as leader, “It’s About Damn Time” is certainly well worth the wait. Harrison is prolific on the sax and his compositions are inviting to say the least, a testament to this legend’s staying power.

Year: 2011
Label: Self-Produced
Artist Web: www.wendajazz.com