Reference: FSRCD 1074
Bar code: 8427328610742
THIS PRODUCT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN THE U.S.
Fresh Sound Records presents:
Rare and Obscure Jazz Albums
A CD series created for the most discerning jazz collectors
· Hard to find albums in Collector's Edition
· 2 Original LPs on 1 CD
· Original Cover Art, Liner Notes
· Complete Personnel Details
· Hi Fi Recordings
· Newly Remastered in 24-Bit
The Duke and I
Born in New York in 1917, Cass Harrison studied classical piano and composition at Julliard. He toured with the big bands of the 1940s and his own groups throughout the United States and South America. In 1956, on his first M-G-M album, Harrison delved into Duke Ellington’s extensive songbook. In addition to two familiar selections, “Azure” and “Prelude”, he brought out some minor treasures, old Ellington tunes like “Move Over”, “Yearning for Love”, “Stevedore’s Serenade” or “Ridding on the Moon”, which are an interesting testament to his genius. Harrison shows that he was a very talented pianist who should have been better known. He was technically facile, imaginative, fresh in his harmonic conception and possessed one of the most rock-ribbed beats imaginable.
Wrappin' It Up
Three decades of jazz piano are reflected in this second album by Cass Harrison, recorded in 1957 also for M-G-M, in which the pianist interprets the work of six outstanding pianist-composers: Fats Waller, Earl Hines, Horace Henderson, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson and George Wallington. While Cass Harrison’s playing was thoroughly modern, he tried to be faithful to each composition, interpreting it in the rhythm and style of his creator while infusing each piece with something new through his own harmonic and rhythmic ideas. Three seasoned musicians of the New York jazz scene, Milton Hinton on bass, along with either Cozy Cole or Jo Jones on drums, provided backing for Cass Harrison on this recording.
"This is a great time to be a jazz fan looking for new “old” sounds that got missed the first time around. Here is a tidbit to treasure…
There have been few jazz pianists that sound influenced by Duke Ellington, but, judging by this reissue of two 50s albums, Cass Harrison is one of them. One session has him in a trio setting with Mort Herbert/b and Cozy Cole/dr I NYC, and the other on is a mix of sessions with Milt Hinton/b and either Cole or Jo Jones/dr. Both albums are filled with Ellingtonia, but that doesn’t necessarily give away his allegiances until he starts playing. Then, you hear that mellow mix of stride and classy swing on obscure Ducal pieces like “Yearning for Love”, “I’m Riding On The Moon and Dancing On The Stars” and “Sump’n ‘Bout Rhythm”. Let’s be honest: how many of you fans really knew those songs even existed?
There’s a rich and soft touch to “ Mood indigo”, with a dash of Henderson swing takes place on “Rug Cutter’s Swing”, ‘Big John’s Special” and “Down South Camp Meetin’” on a salute to the halcyon days of the Swing Era. This guy is going to charm your socks off. Who knows why he eventually moved to Puerto Rico, but the jazz world sure missed him."
George W. Harris (July 12, 2023)
"Who was Cass Harrison? His two albums from 1956-57, The Duke And I and Wrappin’ It Up, feature him as an advanced swing pianist influenced a bit by Earl Hines while displaying his own adventurous style and musical personality. But why is he so unknown today?
Relatively little is known about Harrison. He was born in New York in 1917, studied at Juilliard, played with several big bands (including Teddy Powell’s), and led a large ensemble in South America in 1954. He moved to Puerto Rico in the early 1960s and in 2006 recorded an album of his originals, Sauce From The Source, that is not listed in discographies. The date of his passing is not known.
In Fresh Sound’s Rare and Obscure Jazz Albums series, The Duke And I and Wrappin’ It Up are reissued on a single CD. The former set, which has Harrison joined by bassist Mort Herbert and drummer Cozy Cole, the pianist avoids playing Ellington’s hits (other than “Prelude To A Kiss” and “Azure”) and instead brings back eight little-known numbers that are mostly from the 1930s. It is fun hearing trio versions of such songs as “Move Over,” Sump’N ‘Bout Rhythm,” and “I’m Riding On The Moon And Dancing On The Stars.”
The Wrappin’ It Up album has Harrison (with bassist Milt Hinton and either Cozy Cole or Jo Jones on drums) playing two songs apiece by six pianists: Fats Waller (including the forgotten “Strange As It Seems”), Horace Henderson, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Duke Ellington, and George Wallington. With the exception of the Wallington numbers which date from the bebop era, the songs are again mostly from the 1930s.
On both sets, Harrison embraces the vintage melodies while stretching them a bit in his own style. His excellence and unpredictable style throughout the CD certainly makes one wish that he had recorded more extensively in his career. But at least the Fresh Sound label has brought back these little-known but valuable gems."
—Scott Yanow (December, 2023)
The Syncopated Times