The Three Sounds feat. Gene Harris – Groovin’ Hard – Live at The Penthouse 1964-1968 (2016)
DSF Stereo DSD128, 1 bit/5,6 MHz | Time – 50:48 minutes | 3,97 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | Booklet, Front Cover | © 2xHD/Resonance Records
In May of 2010, when Resonance Records first embarked upon the adventure of unearthing and presenting historical jazz recordings to the world, George Klabin and I began looking into various archives for tapes to release. One day, George came to me with a list of tapes he’d come across; tapes in the possession of Jim Wilke, who years earlier had been the host of a syndicated Seattle-based radio program called Jazz After Hours.
Over the course of Jim’s storied career, he’s been a staunch advocate for jazz and its greatest protagonists. Indeed, over the years, Jim has succeeded in presenting a veritable Who’s Who of ’50s and ’60s jazz greats to the public.
From February 1962 through August 1968, Jim hosted the weekly radio program, Jazz from the Penthouse, on Seattle’s KING-FM. As a well-known radio personality in the Northwest, Jim developed a working relationship with Seattle’s legendary jazz club, the Penthouse, and consequently was able to air live performances by a wide array of artists while they performed at the club. These performances were broadcast direct to the public right as they happened. The shows not only went on the air live, Jim taped them, employing professional recording techniques and equipment. Over the years, Jim amassed an impressive collection of high-quality tapes; tapes that form a unique archive of the extraordinary music heard over the course of more than half a decade at the Penthouse by virtually all of the amazing music legends that played there.
The old tapes hide in the archives, deep in the dark corners of record company closets, and even the occasional back yard tool shed—Hal Schaefer’s How Do You Like this Piano Playing (Summit Records, 2009). Finding and bringing these lost treasures to the listening public seems to have turned into an industry of its own. And praise be the effort. The year 2016 alone saw the releases of newly discovered gems by pianists Bill Evans, with Some Other Time, (Resonance Records), and Erroll Garner’s Ready Take One, (Legacy Records), and the pioneering bop sax man Charlie Parker’s Unheard Bird: The Unissued Takes, (Verve Records).
Now Resonance Records, riding the crest of the wave of the undiscovered treasures game, offers up Groovin’ Hard: Live At the Penthouse, 1964-1968 by Three Sounds Featuring Gene Harris.
Harris held down the piano chair during the fifteen year life span of the group. Drummers changed; the bass changed. Gene Harris was the constant in a group that released fifteen albums on Blue Note Records, achieving the distinction of being one of the label’s top selling acts between 1958 and 1962. The group’s sound was soulful, always in the groove. This was a time when soul and groove had carved out a niche—saxophonists Stanley Turrentine and Lou Donaldson were doing their part; and so was Red Garland. Harris always sounded a bit like Garland, with a shade less elegance, but like he was having a better time at it.
Groovin’ Hard stacks up well with the best of The Three Sounds discography—consistency was a big thing with Harris. Consistency and the joy of creation. He sounds like a born entertainer, someone who lived to give the people what they wanted to hear. In this set, recorded in four different stints at Seattle’s now-defunct Penthouse, the group grooves into Neal Hefti’s “Girl Talk,” the classic “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes,” given a bossa-funk feel here, and the American Songbook jewel “The Shadow of Your Smile.”
Harris had such chops, and such a flair for bringing deep soul into the proceedings, such panache, such exuberant confidence in his artistry. And the trios—The Three Sounds had a rotation three different drummers in these sets—elevated their contributions above straight accompaniment into the realm of equality that, while it may not have matched what the Bill Evans Trios were doing at this time (and that surely wasn’t the point)—they certainly matched Harris in their zest creating an assertive interplay and an engaging sound.
“Blue Genes,” a Harris original, boogie woogie’s like mad, and “Rat’s Down Front,” another offering from the Harris pen, ramps that approach up a couple of notches, while “Yours Is My Heat Alone” dances with a light step, with the trio at his most effervescent. –Dan McClenaghan, All About Jazz
1. Girl Talk (6:23)
2. The Night Has A Thousand Eyes (5:49)
3. Blue Genes (3:10)
4. The Shadow Of Your Smile (6:55)
5. Rat Down Front (2:25)
6. Yours Is My Heart Alone (7:50)
7. A.M. Blues (4:09)
8. Bluesette (6:48)
9. Caesar And Cleopatra (Film Theme) (4:57)
10. The Boogaloo (2:44)
Gene Harris, piano
Andy Sims, bass
Bill Dowdy, drums #3,5,8,9
Kalil Madi, drums #2,7,10
Carl Burnett, drums #1,4,6
Recorded at the Penthouse in Seattle, WA 1964-1968; #1,4,6 – 8/23/68; #2,10 – 6/23/66; #3,5,9 – 2/20/64; #7 – 6/30/66; #8 – 10/22/64