Winard Harper

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Epicure
WORKS: Be Yourself
PERFORMER: Harper (d); Reuben Brown (p); Buster Williams (b) with Eddie Henderson (t); Don Braden (ts); Antonio Hart (as); David ‘Fathead’ Newman (ts)
CATALOGUE NO: 478197 2

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During the latter half of the 1980s and early 1990s, the Harper Brothers band was one of the most exhilarating of the young ensembles working out of the hard-bop tradition. Sparked by Winard Harper’s drumming, the band was effectively run by him as well, so it is hardly surprising he now makes his debut as a leader in his own right. Using a mixture of seasoned pros (Henderson, Williams, Newman) and younger musicians, they are gradually making an impact on the touring circuits.

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There is the refreshing cohesion here of a set, working band; well-executed ensembles, soloists with something to say, underpinned by an exemplary rhythm section. Any healthy tradition is always developing and expanding, and we need to look no further than Winard Harper to see one direction in which hard-bop is moving. Stuart Nicholson