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February 06, 1987 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-02-06

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4

Page 8 - The Michigan Doily - Friday, February 6, 1987

Craig Harris Quintet to shine at

Ark

By Mark S. Taras
One can almost taste the
primordial sound-soup and warm
your ears by the heat of pyrotechnic
funk. It is aboriginal; that is, ab -
-original . Ready for something
new? Tomorrow night at the Ark,
Eclipse Jazz presents the Craig
Harris Quintet. In one show
beginning at 8 p.m., the great
young trombonist will lead his new

band onto the stage for an eventing
of new music.
Hmmmm....., you are thinking,
Trombone, huh! Like "76
Trombones" that lead the Big
Parade? Or maybe some traditional
dixieland thing, eh? Well, yeah,.
sort of (only deeper), and then again
no!
Craig Harris grew up on his
listening to the big guys of the past
generation. The slippery J.J.
Johnson and his influences;
Ellington's main men, Juan Tizol
and "Tricky Sam" Nanton; these
cats made an impression on Harris,
of course. And Benny Green is a
particular favorite. .
Through these masters, Craig
Harris looks backwards for the sake
of moving forward. He is certainly
an "avant--garde" player, yet he is
steeped in the tradition of hot music
and swings with a passion. He has
a strong R&B background which he
calls upon with verve. He likes that
big sound; his trombone wades

into the music, brash and funky.
His playing is spirited, as in
New Orleans jazz, and inspirational,
as in the Stax-Volt soul sounds of
the sixties. Harris uses his horn and
his compositions to lift hearts,
voices, and feet (not the least!).
Those who heard him pushing
David Murray's Octet in the
U-Club may recall his irresistable
bottom line groove in "Flowers for
Albert". He takes a sorrow and
turns it into joy! He heard Albert
Ayler! Heard him crying out like a
voice in the musical wilderness.
Craig Harris moved to New
York in 1978, and flung himself,
'bone first, into the center of the
musical scene. He has worked with

David Murray and Henry Threadgill.
He ground around with the Beaver
Harris-Don Pullen 360 Degree
Musincal Experience. He learned
the social science lessons that can
only be taught by Sun Ra and the
Arkestra. And he toured Africa,
Australia, and Europe with
Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand).
This last venture left a great
impression on Harris. His LP
Aboriginal Affairs is a testament
to the warmth and enthusiasm with
which he has embraced Australian
music and culture. The sound is
down (as in under) and out (as in
back). Harris may even be heard on
dijiridoo, the traditional Aboriginal
instrument.

Harris has forsaken most of his
work as a sideman, while encorp -
orating all of that experience to
focus on leading his own group.
The band includes Eddie "E.J."
Allen on trumpet and Donald Byron
on clarinet. Anthony Cox is a
startling young bass player from
Minneapolis who has already left
his mark with a number of bands.
He has recorded often and is heard
on the Aboriginal Affairs date.
Drummer Pheeroan Ak Laff is no
stranger to the Ann Arbor scene. He
has been here most recently with
the New Air Trio and Oliver Lake's
Jump Up. A graduate of Eastern
Michigan University, he was a
onetime host of that college's Late

Night Jazz Scope radio program on
WEMIU-FM.
It is a peculiar line-up: no
saxophone or piano; a front line of
trumpet, clarinet, and trombone. It
seems somewhat eccentric and it
might well be; certainly, such an
unusual group will serve Harris'
music well. His compositions cap
be languid and dreamy or funky and
hot, but they are always rich in
sinewy, sinuous swing. I
Come on down to the Ark
tomorrow night and warm your feet
by the fire. Smell the soup. The
Craig Harris Quintet will be using
some of the regular ingredients, bud
the menu the are preparing is
deliciously new.

Phone 764-0558

Guest: An 'Ordinary' person

'#

f
9

mss-1

By Jean Lombard
Although Judith Guest, author
of Ordinary People, Second Heaven,
screenwriter, teacher, and University
alumna from the class of '58, she is
more a character from one a her

books than a famous figure. Judith
Guest graduated from the school of
Education, married, had three
children, and taught. She currently
lives in Edina, Minnesota:
Her meteoric rise to fame from
unknown to best-selling author has
not caused her to change her

attitudes about writing but rather to
put her craft into perspective.
"Writing Ordinary People, and
novels in general, was like flying

blind," Guest told the Daily, "I'46
been writing stories since I was 'a
girl. I'm not aware of the precise
time I decided to write Ordinar
See Guest, page 9

4

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