Harold Mabern - Afro Blue on Limited Edition 180g Vinyl LP
Harold Mabern Afro Blue on Limited Edition 180g Vinyl LP
Featuring Guest Vocals by Gregory Porter, Norah Jones, Jane Monheit, Kurt Elling & Alexis Cole
Mastered for Vinyl by Keviny Gray / Includes 2,000-Word Interview
Harold Mabern's second release on on Smoke Sessions Records, Afro Blue, is a very special recording featuring guest vocalists Gregory Porter, Norah Jones, Jane Monheit, Kurt Elling, and Alexis Cole. The chemistry of these artists with Harold – the sound of his piano voicings combined with their voices – is extraordinary. Well-known in jazz circles as a consummate accompanist for instrumental soloists, The Mabe also has a special gift for sensitive and supportive playing behind singers.
It's something he takes pride in and has been doing since he first hit the stage at Birdland half a century ago with Betty Carter. "I love vocalists. I love to play for singers because that's really how you learn how to play the piano jazz-wise. They go through every aspect of music – changing keys, slow tempos to fast, playing rubato, playing verses, all of the Great American Songbook – that's really how you learn how to play," says Mabern.
There is a lot of music and there are a lot of memorable performances on Afro Blue but Mabern's soulful, blues-driven style is the constant highlight. He is joined by a stellar supporting cast – Jeremy Pelt, Eric Alexander and Steve Turre form a killer horn section while John Webber and Joe Farnsworth complete his reliable rhythm team. Guitarist Peter Bernstein also makes a special appearance on Steely Dan's "Do It Again."
Mabern adds, "I'll tell you, it was really the most difficult thing I've ever done. It was definitely a challenge, but I think we pulled it off. I'm quite pleased with it, you know."
Limited edition 180-gram vinyl pressing of Mabern's acclaimed Afro Blue celebrates his 80th birthday in March 2016 and includes tip-on jacket with 2,000-word interview and original Jimmy Katz photography. Mastered for vinyl by Kevin Gray.
Harold Mabern Afro Blue Track Listing:
1. The Chief
2. Afro Blue (with Gregory Porter)
3. The Man from Hyde Park (with Gregory Porter)
4. Fools Rush In (with Norah Jones)
5. Don't Misunderstand (with Norah Jones)
6. I'll Take Romance (with Jane Monheit)
7. My One and Only Love (with Jane Monheit)
8. Billie's Bounce (with Kurt Elling)
9. Portrait of Jennie (with Kurt Elling)
10. You Needed Me (with Kurt Elling)
11. Such is Life (with Alexis Cole)
12. Do It Again (with Peter Bernstein)
14. Bobby, Benny, Jymie, Lee, Bu
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