CD Shelter [Craig Harris] (CD 176556),
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Shelter [Craig Harris]

  • 1. Africans Unite
    2. Shelter Suite: Shelter / Subway Scenarios / Sea Of Swollen Hands / Three Hots And A Cot / Shelter (reprise) / Bags And Rags
    3. Cootie
    4. Reminiscing
    5. Sound Sketches
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 919008

  • Credits
    ProducerStefan F. Winter
    EngineerDavid Baker

    Personnel: Craig Harris (trombone, didgerido); Tunde Samuel (vocals); Edward E.J. Allen (trumpet); Don Byron (clarinet, bass clarinet; Rod Williams (piano); Anthony Cox (bass); Pheeroan Aklaff (drums).
    Recorded at Sound Ideas, New York, New York in November & December 1986.
    In Shelter, trombonist Craig Harris attempts a lengthy programmatic composition as the record's set piece, and the results are mixed. "Shelter Suite" is intended as an evocation of the lives of New York's homeless but, aside from the overtly referential sung portions, the music is sometimes a bit messy, other times lugubrious. It's the sort of work that Harris' former employer Henry Threadgill can pull off with grace but that stultifies in lesser hands. The opening, "Africans Unite," has a bouncy and catchy theme but again, the lyrics have an "up with people" cachet that's more than a bit queasy. However, the basic quintet assembled is a good one, including the young Don Byron in one of the first bands that brought his talents to light. "Cootie" is a jumpy, rough-hewn number that features him nicely, as well as showcasing the leader's unmistakable growl. The closing "Sound Sketches" has a sinuous, slightly threatening sounding groove that drummer Pheeroan akLaff clearly takes delight in, and this piece actually does broach the sort of territory in which Threadgill and David Murray often dwelt. An uneven set, but the highlights and generally fine level of playing make Shelter worth a listen, depending on one's tolerance for mawkishness. ~ Brian Olewnick

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