String Choir – Downbeat Review

String Choir

By Jon Ross, DownBeat

Guitarist Joel Harrison’s latest group of arrangements – Paul Motion tunes arranged for string quartets – belongs in a gray area between classical and jazz. this isn’t simply jazz with strings, the subgenre that once bewitched Charlie Parker; Harrison’s record leans more toward classical music, but it’s certainly not the jazz-as-classical mishmash more recently explored by Wynton Marsalis. (more…)

CD Review: "Urban Myths" by Joel Harrison

Urban Myths

By Dr. Matthew Warnock, Modern Guitarist

Urban Myths is an exciting and innovative modern jazz record by New York based guitarist Joel Harrison. Accompanied by some of the idiom’s leading musicians, including Christian Howes, violin; Daniel Kelly, keyboards; Stephan Crumb, bass; Jordan Person, drums; and the ever brilliant David Binney on alto sax, Harrison delivers an album that blurs the boundaries separating jazz, rock and funk in an experimental and highly enjoyable fashion. While fusing musical genres has long been a popular custom in the jazz world, Harrison presents a unique approach to the realm of jazz fusion. His highly developed rhythmic sense, alongside his ability to write convincing melody lines, allows Harrison to present an album that pushes boundaries without isolating the audience. (more…)

Bass CD Reviews – Urban Myths

Urban Myths

By Damian Erskine, Bass CD

So I did a tour with guitarist Joel Harrison about 6 or 7 years ago (as a sub for Kai Eckhardt).  The sheet music got lost in the mail & I was at that point in my development in which I was good but didn’t have a lot of things together that I should have (inexperienced really).  Listening to the music, I figured, “well.. I’ll be ok, sounds really interesting but like it won’t be too hard to sight-read, play, etc…”.  MAN!!  I got my a## handed to me on that tour!  The caliber at which Joel and the company he keeps operates is consistently high and his music is demanding, intense and beautiful all at once.  That was a very important turning point for me and my playing..  I learned a lot on that tour about the work I still had to do.  That said, I was very excited to hear of his new CD and just had to share it with you guys… (more…)

Reviews of The Wheel

Guitarist Joel Harrison has been quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) forging a path of adventure in modern music. Not necessarily content with arbitrary categories, he is discovering ways to utilize all the different musical streams of the world. He has used jazz improvisation as a starting point but it’s never the be-all-end-all, the kind of thing that draws more attention to technique than to storytelling. His musicianship and that of his cohorts is always of the virtuoso variety but what you come away with is something much more. (more…)

Jazz Guitarist, Joel Harrison Debuts His String Quartet Piece in Mahattan Concert

On June 19, Intuition Records and Innova Records present a unique concert to debut the CD release of Joel Harrison’s, The Wheel. The concert will take place at the Cornelia St Café on June 19, 2008 with two shows, at 8:30pm and 10pm. The music is a union of jazz and classical string quartet with Harrison on guitar accompanied by Miguel Zenon (sax), Jeff Hermanson (trumpet), Chris Howes (violin), Jakub Trasak (violin), Tanya Kalmanovich (viola), Wendy Sutter (Cello), Lindsey Horner (bass), Satoshi Takeishi (percussion). (more…)

Introduction to Harbor from Bill Milkowski

A restlessly creative spirit, Joel Harrison has thrown himself headlong into half a dozen challenging and wildly disparate projects since moving to New York from the Bay Area in 1999. “I have far-ranging interests and I have a voracious musical appetite,” explains the prolific guitarist-composer-arranger. “And I work fairly quickly once I get going on an idea.” (more…)

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. (more…)

Free Country II with David Binney

This is Joel Harrison’s second CD on the ACT label, a followup to his hugely successful Free Country release of 2003. Once again Harrison travels along the seams of Jazz, Country, Blues, and Spirituals, using country classics, hymns, and folk tunes as a gateway to creative music making. Harrison has included his own compositions on this release, side by side with gems by Merle Haggard, Jimmy Webb, the Stanley Brothers, as well as timeless traditional tunes. Harrison’s singular arranging style and the improvisational talents of his band create a dramatic atmosphere full of compositional surprises, gorgeous, moody textures, explosive soloing and quiet, intimate detail. (more…)