Bill Harris – The Bill Harris Quintet – This Time the Dream’s on Me – Pensativa Music Productions, 69:32 *****:
(Bill Harris – alto and tenor saxophones; Paul Mazzio – trumpet, Flugelhorn; George Mitchell – piano; Dave Captein – bass; Dick Berk – drums)
Bill’s sound is very lyrical and This Time the Dream’s on Me shows that wonderful hard bop sound created in the ‘50s. His bio has a list of vocalists and fellow musicians he has worked with. I’ll mention just a few to give an idea of his worth: Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Celine Dion. Musicians he has played with are Gerry Mulligan, Michael Brecker, Phil Woods and so many more.
This Time the Dream’s on Me contains a mixture of songs from the Great American Songbook with songs from George & Ira Gershwin, Tadd Dameron, Sammy Cahn & Gene Vincent de Paul, and Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer. Included from the jazz side are composers such as Horace Silver, Benny Golson, Wayne Shorter and an original from Bill Harris.
I must say that the musicians joining Bill Harris on this album are top notch, well-respected and revered in the Northwest and points east. To me it is a stunning quintet which is why I gave it a 5-star rating. I have heard all of these musicians at one time or another in several venues for jazz in the Portland area.
Bill in his liner notes said he came up with the idea of this album not long ago while up late watching Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. A couple of the songs from the movie caught his attention but he was inspired by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s song “This Time the Dream’s on Me” sung by Alison Krause, a bluegrass/country singer. Fascinated, he kept rewinding and playing it over and over. It prompted him to include the song and to name the album he produced after it as well.
Tad Dameron’s “On A Misty Night” opens the album with the quintet doing a harmonized unison intro with Bill playing lyrically on his alto sax with George Mitchell chording on piano, Dave Captein “walkin’ the dog” on bass and great supporting drum work by Dick Berk. After Bill finishes his solo, Paul Mazzio solos, also lyrically on his horn, with the same rhythm behind him. Soloing then switches to George Mitchell playing some great chops on piano. Dave Captein switches to some fancy finger work on bass for his solo with Dick Berk accenting with the high-hat cymbal. Dick Berk gets to step out a little on drums. They all finish with the similar line they used for the opening. Sweet! Horace Silver’s “Nutville” opens with the quintet playing in harmonized unison in a bluesy fast paced minor sound we used to call modern jazz. “Teach Me Tonight” changes up with lyrical alto sax by Bill with Paul Mazzio augmenting, a truly pretty rendition. “Bluesy Lucy” is a gem that Bill composed for a three-year-old friend. It is a medium speed walking tune featuring Bill on tenor sax with Dave Captein walkin’ the dog again. Great stuff! Bill is back on alto sax again playing lead on George & Ira Gershwin’s song “Soon”. It is fast-paced and lyrical. The album finishes with the title track “This Time the Dream’s On Me”. It is slow, dreamy, and lyrical as it moves with Bill on alto sax, with bass and piano augmenting. After the first phrasing, Paul Mazzio comes in with mute (Harmon I believe) and accents with Bill.
“This Time the Dream’s on Me” is one of those gems that comes out and grabs you. The more you hear the more you want and wish it did not end. The musicians and sound quality are wonderful. An excellent album!
TrackList: On A Misty Night; Suddenly It’s Spring; Nutville; Teach Me Tonight; Stablemates; Bye Bye Baby; Bluesy Lucy; Soon; One by One; This Time the Dream’s on Me.