Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Blues-Soul Of Bill Harris (Complete Mercury Recordings, 1956-1962)

When Bill Harris recorded his first album as a leader in 1956, he had already been the electric guitar accompanist for The Clovers — one of the most outstanding R&B vocal groups — since 1949. Fellow guitarist Mickey Baker recommended him to Mercury/EmArcy’s A&R head, Bob Shad, and it is to Shad’s credit that he gave Harris so much scope on his debut. The full colored natural sound of Harris’s unamplified Spanish guitar is a rare and interesting pleasure. In the words of Nat Hentoff, “the blues-soul of Harris courses richly through everything he plays.”
On his second album for the label, “The Harris Touch,” Bill was backed by a conventional rhythm section and a bongo player. The session featured the excellent piano work of Hank Jones, with three of the tunes vehicles to showcase of Harris’s electric guitar. On the Mercury/Wing album, Harris again performs solo, displaying his remarkable feeling for the unamplified guitar in both jazz and semi-classical contexts. The fourth album on this set is also a solo recital, recorded during a Bill Harris concert in Washington in 1962. Harris plays with engaging easiness in a live program which mainly includes material from the other three albums, demonstrating his abilities as an improviser of lovely, rhythmically resilient variations.
Down Beat magazine defined his style as a combination of beauty, lyricism, charm and solid strength. This collection of performances is both a masterpiece of guitar versatility and a master class in improvisation.

Source : http://www.freshsoundrecords.com/the_blues-soul_of_bill_harris__complete_mercury_recordings_1956-1959_+_bonus_tracks_4_lps_on_2_cds_-cd-5955.html

The Blues-Soul Of
Bill Harris
Complete Mercury Recordings


Cd. 1

1 Stompin’ at the Savoy (Webb, Sampson, Goodman)  2:17
2 Moonglow (Hudson, DeLange, Mills)  2:32
3 Cherokee (Noble)  1:29
4 Out of Nowhere (Heyman, Green)  2:58
5 Ethyl (Harris)  2:42
6 Possessed (Harris)  2:43
7 Perdido (Lengsflder, Drake, Tizol)  2:37
8 I Can’t Get Started (Duke, Gershwin)  1:47
9 Dreaming (Harris)  2:33
10 K. C. Shuffle (Harris)  2:15
11 Ivanhoe (Pullian)  2:07
12 Lover (Hart, Rodgers)  2:20
13 Spring (Harris)  1:40
14 Baker’s Dozen (Harris)  1:44
15 Golden Sunset (Harris, Howitt)  2:36
16 Honeysuckle Rose (Razaf, Waller)  2:55
17 Midnight Blue (Harris, Moody)  3:02
18 Yesterdays (Harbach, Kern)  1:53
19 The Harris Touch (Harris)  3:27
20 All the Things You Are (Kern, Hammerstein II)  2:54
21 ‘S Wonderful (Gershwin, Gershwin)  2:17
22 Sometimes I’m Happy (Youmans, Caesar)  2:35
23 Rock Bottom Blues (Harris, Jones)  4:19
24 The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin)  2:33

(*) “Spring” was originally issued on the album “The Harris Touch,” but recorded at the “Bill Harris” session


Cd. 2

1 Lullaby of Birdland (Shearing)  2:37
2 Blue Angel (Harris)  2:01
3 The Song Is You (Hammerstein II, Kern)  2:40
4 Daahoud (Brown)  1:58
5 Ethyl (Harris)  2:03
6 Wind Song (Harris)  2:01
7 Ol’ Man River (Hammerstein II, Kern)  2:33
8 Once in a While (Edwards, Green)  2:49
9 Poinciana [Song of the Tree] (Simon, Lliso, Bernier)  2:03
10 Concerto for Jazz Guitar (Your Majesty) (Malachi, Harris)  3:11
11 Jordu (Jordan)  1:43
12 Lover (Hart-Rodgers)  6:45
13 All the Things You Are (Kern, Hammerstein II)  1:42
14 Poinciana [Song of the Tree] (Simon, Lliso, Bernier)  2:27
15 Well You Needn’t (Monk)  3:21
16 “Intaglio Monk,” Parts 1 & 2 (Harris)  6:02
17 Stompin’ at the Savoy (Webb, Sampson, Goodman)  2:18
18 Possessed (Harris)  1:18
19 Cherokee (Noble)  4:36
20 The Song Is You (Hammerstein II, Kern)  3:31
21 Where Is Big Joe Williams Blues (Harris)  3:17
22 Ethyl (Harris)  3:25


[Cd. 1, # 1-12] from the album “Bill Harris” (Mercury/EmArcy MG 36097)
Bill Harris - g
Recorded in New York City ; 1956
[Cd. 1, # 13-24] from the album “The Harris Touch” (Mercury/EmArcy MG 36113)
Bill Harris,  - g
Hank Jones - p & clst
unidentified bassist, drummer, and bongo player
Recorded in New York City ; May 2 [# 15, 16, 18 ,21, 23 & 24] ; & May 21 [# 13, 14, 17, 19 & 20], 1957
[Cd. 2, # 1-11] from the album “Great Guitar Sounds” (Mercury/Wing MGW 12220)
Bill Harris - g
Recorded in New York City ; 1959
[Cd. 2, # 12-22] from the album “Caught in the Act” (Jazz Guitar JGLP 100)
Bill Harris - g
Recorded at Cafritz Auditorium, Washington D.C. ; December, 1962

A guitarist who spent at least two decades on the road with rhythm & blues vocal group the Clovers, Bill "Willie" Harris had a thick background in bebop and swing guitar as well as gospel. The latter style was at his fingertips even before he discovered guitarists such as Oscar Moore on records and radio, since Harris' father was a preacher who was in the position to turn the church organist job over to his offspring. Meanwhile, Harris' mother was drumming in basic harmony and an uncle had chipped in with a guitar, apparently to be the beauty move. The Army supplied a bugle that temporarily halted progress with strings attached, so to speak. Harris was discharged in the mid-'40s and promptly began studying guitar in Washington, D.C., becoming fairly good with both jazz and classical pieces. Harris was encouraged particularly in the classics by high-up staff at the Columbia School of Music, yet seems to have picked the Clovers due to a perceived scent of economic security. The choice, interestingly enough, still wound up leading to expanded musical horizons when fellow rhythm & blues and session guitarist Mickey Baker eavesdropped on a Harris dressing-room practice session and began pulling strings for what would be a series of releases under Harris' own name, such as the 1960 Great Guitar Sounds. The previous EmArcy Solo Guitar from 1956 is considered to be the first album of solo jazz guitar ever released. During the '70s, Harris operated Pigfoot, a Washington, D.C., restaurant, nightclub, and art gallery."
Eugene Chadbourne, All Music Guide

Source : http://www.allmusic.com/artist/bill-harris-mn0001199330/biography


blbs said...

Very very beautiful! Thank you!

Rick said...

A great set! A very fine solo jazz guitarist.

LPR said...


Treasuring a vinyl copy of the first album, it's great to finally see it on cd. Even greater to see Caught In The Act, which is even more elusive than the first two albums. Super great share, big thanks!

AmyBRAINS said...

It's very great post.
Many thanks, Melanchthon.

Tibau said...

Não me lembro de ter ouvido este guitarrista.
Obrigado Mel

jose arboleda said...

muchas gracias.

Chris said...

I got Bill Harris & The Harris Touch like LPR glad to find Caught In The Act, Thanks Mel.

Prof. Yaffle said...

Thank you

Helmut Knochen said...

Hello Mel.

Is a password needed for this file? Please advise. Thanks.

ita diegues said...

Obrigado Melanchthon.

Kenji said...

Might you be able to post this again?

deGallo said...

Great post! Thank you'

marty123 said...

Great stuff.
As usual.

Kenji said...

Fantastic. And the PW for these 7z files?

Kenji said...

Actually, they are all coming up as partials. Do you have to put a PW in earlier in the process?

neil said...

Got a couple of his 1957 albums, but these tracks are new to me, mel; many thanks for the re-up...

The Jackal said...

Dear Mel,

What a great Xmas present thanks for another great year of music.
Did you read the article about Jimmy Raney ?

A very merry Xmas to you and/or happy holidays

jm said...

Utterly brand new to me! Many thanks, yet again.

Otis Foster said...

Thnx melanchthon - missed this the first time through

Kenji said...

Can you please advise on how to open these?

Mike said...

Thanks again, Mel!

musician3 said...

AMAZING........................THANK YOU FOR ALL

klf said...

Greetings of the season, to you! Thanks, as always, for your excellent, surprising, and rewarding posts.

bho wani said...

Superb guitarist !! many thanks, Mel!

Kenji said...


lucky5 said...

Thank you for the new links.
Much appreciated!

Kenji said...

Sorry, but again, can anyone explain how to open them?

Kenji said...


rambert said...

Thanks! Another artist unknown to me, but most of the ones I got introduced to here, were excellent discoveries!

Kenji said...

Rambert, could you please tell me how to open this type of file?

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

kristophermc28 said...

Thanks Mel!

Anonymous said...


Thanks for introducing me to this unique guitarist.

Could you re-upload the third, fourth, and fifth of these files?

Thank you as always.

Anonymous said...

This is some amazing stuff, a guitarist's dream! Would love to hear these, but it seems 3-5 links are dead. Possible to repost? Thanks.

Fred Archtop said...

Thanks Mel. This is a great series of albums.

Pedro del Castillo Alonso said...

Very nice, thanks Mel

sotise said...

merci beaucoup pour ce lui si!

warpig said...

Never heard this before but from the comments sounds like they will be terrific. Thank you so much for this and all the others you put up as well.

sep troelstra said...

Thanks a lot!!

theblueamos said...

Thank you very much from Jerusalem.

HEXIS said...

Thanks Mel!

Melanchthon said...


jose arboleda said...

Muchas gracias.

daniel genovese said...

Thank you

Kovina Kris said...

Really cool to see all these in one post from Bill Harris. Thank you Mel!