Harvie S. – Cocolamus Bridge,
Here we find Harvie stepping out with his “Texas band”, a group of seasoned veterans from the Houston area assembled by guitarist Chris Cortez specifically for this project. Each composition on the album save one is an original of Harvie’s and bears the inimitable aural mark of its maker- a deep rumble and earthly roar, coupled with a porcelain tone wrenched with delicate care from the upper register of the bass.
The album opens with Eili Gheal Chiuin, a traditional Irish folk song sublimely arranged for bass choir and performed entirely by Harvie. Between the gorgeous bowing, vibrant tone, lush harmonies and always-impressive solos, the track provides a tantalizing glimpse into the formidable depth and range of Harvie’s instrumental prowess.
The CD’s expanse runs the gamut from Cocolamus Bridge, a reflective and pensive piece serving as a beautiful study in melodic writing and bass playing, to a wonderfully interactive, original duet between Harvie and Witt on Wayne Shorter’s Night Dreamer. The band leaves few thematic stones unturned. Dexterity coupled with a fluency in negotiating changing meters is evident on Courage, a fluid tune featuring three fine solos each from guitarist Chris Cortez, tenor saxophonist Woody Witt and Harvie S.
A keen grasp of Afro-Cuban music has been invaluable to Harvie’s repertoire ever since he traveled to Cuba in the 1990s to study the music firsthand. One of the many happy consequences of this musical adventure is the tune Coco Loco, a vibrant composition highlighting the adept rhythm section playing of pianist Jose Miguel Yamal, guitarist Chris Cortez, drummer Joel Fulgham and percussionist James Metcalfe. The tune is named after Harvie’s effervescent dog, a Papillion named Coco. A gentle, up-tempo samba,
To Bea is dedicated to Harvie’s mother. Ike (take a hike) is a unique multi groove meditation with an ostinato bass line, was named for the hurricane that swept through the Gulf Coast mere weeks before the date of this recording. Rounding out the set is the mysterious yet tender Truth and Beauty, an intricate composition whose captivating soprano saxophone and bass solos lull the album to a gentle rest.