JJ 03/63: Eddie Harris – Mighty Like A Rose

Sixty years ago Mark Gardner considered the singular Chicagoan a superlative craftsman who would soon come up with an exciting album. First published in JJ March 1963


Tenorist Harris, apparently, is making a small fortune for himself as a result of a series of semi-commercial albums he waxed for the Chicago Vee Jay label. Good luck to him. He is a superlative craftsman with an enviable control and range on his instrument.

Aside from Harris’ technical qualities, I believe him to be a jazzman of rich potential as he demonstrates occasionally on this recording. A perfectly-balanced solo on his own boppish composition, “Sally T”, is proof enough of an individual mind at work.

Eddie’s tone resembles that of Stan Getz, but the shape of his improvisa­tions are quite different to Getz’ and he can blow effortlessly in the soprano register.

Pianist Pickens (he has absorbed hunks of Wynton Kelly) and guitarist Joe Diorio support Harris adequately. The drummer, however, is too fond of using the rim shot which has now become as much of a cliché as the early bop drum­mers’ “bombs.”

Harris, I feel sure, will soon come up with an exciting album. This one does not come into that category.

My Buddy; Willow Weep For Me; Spartacus; Mighty Like A Rose (17 min) – God Bless The Child; Sally T; Fontessa; There Is No Time (15½ min)
Eddie Harris (ten); Joe Diorio (gtr); Willie Pickens (p); William Yancy (bs); Harold Jones (d). Chicago, 1961.
(Stateside SL 10018 l2inLP 34s. 4½ d.)