After opening the set with a rumba- infused Rhythm-a-ning, Harvie and his group shared six fresh compositions with a captive audience. Their take on the Monk classic featured some nice spice, especially from drummer William Beaver Bausch. The trio, which included Daniel Kelly on piano, worked both the bluesy and dissonant aspects of this classic until the fiery close.
Mark Turner, the special guest on soprano and tenor saxophones, joined the unit for all of the original material. Many of the tunes were so fresh they were still untitled. The arrangements were solid and far from cliché. The melody of the first was engaging and complemented by intense harmonies. Daniel Kelly moved from seemingly classical influences to deep bluesy runs. At its essence, this selection was a heavy duty, take no prisoners piece. The seasoned practitioners had no problem pushing the boundaries of sound.
The next original was my favorite of the evening. After an introspective introduction, Harvie’s bass solo exemplify his sincere passion and inimitable voice on his instrument. Mark had a terrific tone on tenor and the full sound of the group was reminiscent of the classic Coltrane quartet. Overall, what I appreciated most was the complex movement of the piece. It had many different twists and turns but a common thread throughout. The feeling was understated, with a pursuance or a searching for something new. The rapport between piano and bass and, toward the end of the composition, bass and drums, was inspiring. This tune has the potential to be a suite or the framework for a full album.
Harvie wrote the next song, entitled Sizzle, only a week before this performance. Written with Mark in mind, this selection featured a trio without the piano. This instrumentation allowed Mark to groove, ala Odean Pope, improvising on a great melody and the interplay offered by Harvie’s walking bass line. Faythe, written for Harvie’s late cousin, began with William’s mallets and an almost eerie sound from the piano. Combined with Harvie’s bow work, it made for a unique beginning that lead into a nice head. After a wicked bass solo and a heightened rhythmic complexity, Mark soared through with a certain ease. He was followed by a piano solo, where the group sat out and allowed Daniel to do some unbelievable work heretofore unheard.
Truth and Beauty had a joyful, uplifting undercurrent. Again, Daniel’s piano playing stood out. The final selection was untitled and featured Mark on the soprano sax. His playing is not flashy but rather exhibits considerable substance.
The new repertoire, and the addition of Mark Turner, is yet another direction for the eclectic Harvie S. Keep your ears and eyes open for more gigs from this band. Hopefully, a recording date is in the works.