All About Jazz Reviews 'Harrison on Harrison'

By John Kelman

“For Harrison on Harrison the guitarist/vocalist pays tribute to the late Beatle George Harrison, proving that nothing is immutable, and that even songs from the collective subconscious are completely malleable and capable of inspiring all manner of reshaping.

Harrison opens his new disc with a version of Here Comes the Sun that takes the tune as far as it can go. Starting with only the opening four notes of the familiar melody and, later, the arpeggio that ends each chorus, he transforms the tune into a searing modal workout that’s liberally explored by pianist Uri Caine and, with typical expressionistic fire, saxophonist David Liebman.

The Indian-inspired Within You Without You may have been the odd man out when it appeared on the Beatles’ classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Capitol, 1967), but here Harrison demonstrates the song’s true worth in a hypnotic and, again, modal reading that showcases his evocative slide guitar work. and there’s more than a passing reference to some of Miles Davis’ late-1960s/early-1970s work.

George Harrison may have been the “quiet Beatle,” but his body of work speaks for itself. Joel Harrison’s Harrison on Harrison proves that there’s more than enough meat on the bones of his contemporary pop music to give interpreters plenty to work with.”

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