Consilience Productions
CD Picks

Harold Mabern, Jr.
(b. 3/20/36 - Memphis, TN)

Title: Wailin'
Personnel: Harold Mabern (piano), Hubert Laws (tenor sax & flute), Lee Morgan & Virgil Jones (trumpet), George Coleman (tenor), Boogaloo Joe Jones (guitar), Idris Muhammad (drums), Buster Williams (bass).
Recorded: 1969 & 1970
Label: Fantasy
Comments: Harold Mabern is one of those jazz giants who is terribly under appreciated and relatively unknown by the general jazz public. Originally from Memphis, TN, Harold brings to his music a blues foundation that seeps into his music from the ground up. An incredibly talented musician who has a completely unique approach to the piano, Harold's music has been influenced over the years by his interaction and friendship with fellow Memphis colleagues, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Charles Thomas, Donald Brown, Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, Frank Strozier, George Coleman, and Charles Lloyd, to name only a few.

His career started in Chicago with the MJT + 3 in the late '50s and then he moved to New York in 1959. Mabern has worked with Jimmy Forrest, Lionel Hampton, the Jazztet (1961-1962), Donald Byrd, Miles Davis (1963), J.J. Johnson (1963-1965), Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Wes Montgomery, Joe Williams (1966-1967), and Sarah Vaughan. During the two year period from 1968 to 1970, Mabern recorded four albums for Prestige (including Wailin'). He was with Lee Morgan in the early '70s, recording a few notable Blue Note gems with him, including The Gigolo and Live at The Lighthouse. In 1972, he recorded with Stanley Cowell's Piano Choir and from 1993-95 he toured with the Contemporary Piano Ensemble.

Title: A Few Miles from Memphis
Personnel: Harold Mabern (piano), George Coleman & Buddy Terry (tenor saxophone) Bill Lee (bass), Walter Perkins (drums)
Recorded: 1968
Label: Prestige
Comments: On A Few Miles from Memphis, recorded by pianist Harold Mabern in 1968 (he's originally from Memphis), he's joined by tenors George Coleman and Buddy Terry, bassist Bill Lee, and drummer Walter Perkins for a bluesy, rhythm-filled set featuring familiar fare like "A Treat for Bea" and fun originals like "Walkin''Back." There's also the odd inclusion of "There's a Kind of Hush," a pop song that comes out sounding like an old standard here.

Also of note on this CD: "A Treat for Bea" is in honor of Harold's wife, to whom he's been married for decades, and Bill Lee is Spike Lee's dad!

Harold is still making incredible music these days and can be found often performing at Smoke Jazz Club in Manhattan.

Title: Nightlife in Tokyo
Personnel: Eric Alexander (tenor sax), Harold Mabern (piano), Ron Carter (bass), Joe Farnsworth (drums).
Recorded: 2003
Label: Milestone
Comments: Nightlife in Tokyo is actually not a live album, but takes the title from one of Harold's tunes. Eric Alexander has made some impressive recordings (Mode For Mabes, First Milestone, Second Milestone, and Summit Meeting) over the past few years that feature Harold, his mentor from his days at William Patterson University. And Harold has taken advantage of these recording opportunities to really show us that his best playing days are happening right now! Harold is a MUST SEE in the world of jazz. Don't miss the opportunity to be touched by this great artist.

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