I got hip to Harvey Mason in the early seventies when the Herbie Hancock Headhunters album came out with a huge top 40 jazz- funk instrumental hit “Chameleon” (which Harvey co-wrote). Harvey was one of the best of the first wave of jazz funk drummers of that era to play on popular records, along with Mike Clark, David Garibaldi, Jack Dejohnette and others. He has gone on to play on countless recordings with major jazz and pop artists, and released his own well-received solo albums.
The musicians on this CD are a mix of newcomers and great veterans such as Paul Jackson and Bill Summers, the other 2/3 of the Headhunters rhythm section, and Jimmy Haslip of the Yellowjackets.
The song Chameleon is revamped here with some nice new chord changes in places and a different but very, very funky groove. Other well known jazz funk songs include Grover Washington’s “Black Forest”, Bobby Hutcherson’s “Montara”, Quincy Jones’s “If I Ever Lose This Heaven”, and “Places and Spaces” by Donald Byrd.
I don’t go into long descriptions of music in my reviews. I feel that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture” – Frank Zappa. Just let me say that I give this one a thumbs up and I’ve played it many times since I got it a couple of months ago. Harvey doesn’t play it safe on this one. There is some adventurous blowing and the instruments and mix sound great. Harvey’s drums and drumming sound great. Well worth buying the CD or buying the download.
If you aren’t familiar with Harvey Mason’s ridiculously long list of recording credits, go to : http://www.allmusic.com/artist/harvey-mason-sr-mn0000668112/credits
Have a seat and prepare to be impressed. You can hear samples from the new album here: http://mediakits.concordmusicgroup.com/p/chameleon/listen-to-the-album.html
The new CD is on Concord Records was released on April 29, 2014.