Joel Harrison’s Free Country
From NYC: Joel Harrison's Free Country
Joel Harrison - voice, National Steel guitar
Dave Binney - alto saxophone
Gary Versace - piano, organ, accordion
Dan Weiss - drums
"...drags American roots out of the campfire sing-along into the solar system."- The Village Voice
It's a free country, at least for guitarist and composer Joel Harrison, an alchemist with a unique and inclusive view of American music in all its guises, from Miles Davis to Johnny Cash. It's a singular vision that embraces Nashville standards, spirituals, country blues, worksongs and Appalachian folk tunes from an adventurous jazz perspective, and the net result is wildly imaginative music
Looser and grittier in concept than Bill Frisell's forays into Americana, Harrison's fellow travellers on this country road are from the A list of of New York's free spirited jazz community, including pianist Gary Versace , drummer Dan Weiss and the innovative saxophonist Dave Binney, whose name is a lietmotif for all that's creative in US jazz today.
Free Country, Harrison's debut for the influential German label ACT, is an aptly named wild ride that swings and twangs with admirable parity, evidenced especially in Norah Jones' contributions on I Walk The Line and The Tennessee Waltz, with arrangements by Harrison that take her into creative uncharted waters.
Harrrisons own emotive voice comes to the fore on his ACT follow up So Long 2nd Street, a deeper exploration of the beauty and simplicity of these old songs, imagined in new ways. It's further evidence of the ability in jazz to renew the music from disparate sources, and taking country as his muse, Joel Harrison demonstrates that he is a true American original.