The opening track on Eddie Harris’s Excursions is a great forgotten song of the early '70s. Rolling along on a soused shuffle, “Drunk Man” is entrancing and unpretentious, unrefined but incredibly sophisticated. 1973 was a historically fertile year for African-American music, and Eddie Harris was totally at home within the era's musical crosscurrents. Marvin Gaye’s orchestral soul, Miles Davis’s fusion, Sly Stone’s claustrophobic funk: all of them run through the songs on Excursions, which shows Harris happily outstretched to accommodate all of his many creative impulses. The album embraces jazz in its traditional and experimental forms, but Harris was never into atonality. He found freedom in soul music and the textural possibilities of electronic effects. Excursions isn't so much a statement as it is an experience. The album pours over the listener, and it's best to receive the music in the open, unperturbed spirit in which it was created. There's no bitterness here, just the many multifaceted flavors of an exotic 12-course feast.

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