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Eric Harland

Voyager: Live By Night

(Sunnyside; US: 12 Jul 2011)

I’m not going to type up Eric Harland’s bio. At the age of 33, the guy appears to have played with almost everyone of importance in the contemporary jazz scene and the twists and turns of his personal and family life are the stuff of a gripping biopic. Only recently has modern drummer Harland decide to go it alone. The collaborative effort James Farm (though AllMusic credits it to Harland) with Joshua Redman, Aaron Parks, and Matt Penman appeared earlier this year. Now Harland has released Voyager: Live By Night, a live recording from Paris that needs to be heard to be believed. This is post-bop that pulverizes, taking your sense of complacency into its crosshairs. Julian Lage’s guitar is far more integral to this group than many other jazz combos who waste such an instrument, the tenor flex outs of Walter Smith III are more than solid, and pianist Taylor Eigsti is simply riveting. There is a Sam Rivers cover, but the zest is so equally spread that you may not notice. Highly, highly recommended.

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