Label: Smoke Sessions SSRLP 1503-1 180g Audiophile Vinyl!
Harold Mabern’s second release on Smoke Sessions Records, Afro Blue, is a very special recording featuring guest vocalists Gregory Porter, Norah Jones, Jane Monheit, Kurt Elling, and Alexis Cole. The chemistry of these artists with Harold the sound of his piano voicings combined with their voices is extraordinary.
Well-known in jazz circles as a consummate accompanist for instrumental soloists, The Mabe also has a special gift for sensitive and supportive playing behind singers. Its something he takes pride in and has been doing since he first hit the stage at Birdland half a century ago with Betty Carter. I love vocalists. I love to play for singers because thats really how you learn how to play the piano jazz-wise. They go through every aspect of music changing keys, slow tempos to fast, playing rubato, playing verses, all of the Great American Songbook thats really how you learn how to play. says Mabern.
There is a lot of music and there are a lot of memorable performances on Afro Blue but Maberns soulful, blues-driven style is the constant highlight. He is joined by a stellar supporting cast Jeremy Pelt, Eric Alexander and Steve Turre form a killer horn section while John Webber and Joe Farnsworth complete his reliable rhythm team. Guitarist Peter Bernstein also makes a special appearance on Steely Dans Do It Again. Mabern adds, Ill tell you, it was really the most difficult thing Ive ever done. It was definitely a challenge, but I think we pulled it off. Im quite pleased with it, you know.
Collector’s Limited Edition 180 gram Audiophile Vinyl pressing celebrating Harold Mabern’s 80th Birthday in March 2016 includes deluxe tip-on record jacket! The music was recorded over two days at NYC’s Sear Sound and mastered for vinyl by Kevin Gray.