7 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mean Greens isn’t as solid as The In Sound from the previous year, but it's a more crucial album because it shows Eddie Harris’s style starting to really loosen up for the first time. He expands his core backing trio (Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, and Billy Higgins) with conguero Ray Barretto, percussionist-trumpeter Ray Codrington, organist Sonny Phillips and second percussionist-drummer Bucky Taylor. As if to ease the transition for older listeners, Mean Greens includes some relatively straightforward tracks in the mold of Harris’ older work. “It Was A Very Good Year” echoes Harris’ 1961 hit “Exodus,” while “Without You” is one of his most moving wistful ballads. However, the best songs push the boundaries. You can feel him starting to break the reins in the title song, which shows his tenor beginning to poke and groan in the manner of a forest beast just waking up from hibernation. The party starts in earnest with the rollicking Calypso of “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” and continues through “Listen Here,” which finds Harris switching to electric keyboard for a funky duel with Phillips’ sanctified organ.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mean Greens isn’t as solid as The In Sound from the previous year, but it's a more crucial album because it shows Eddie Harris’s style starting to really loosen up for the first time. He expands his core backing trio (Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, and Billy Higgins) with conguero Ray Barretto, percussionist-trumpeter Ray Codrington, organist Sonny Phillips and second percussionist-drummer Bucky Taylor. As if to ease the transition for older listeners, Mean Greens includes some relatively straightforward tracks in the mold of Harris’ older work. “It Was A Very Good Year” echoes Harris’ 1961 hit “Exodus,” while “Without You” is one of his most moving wistful ballads. However, the best songs push the boundaries. You can feel him starting to break the reins in the title song, which shows his tenor beginning to poke and groan in the manner of a forest beast just waking up from hibernation. The party starts in earnest with the rollicking Calypso of “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” and continues through “Listen Here,” which finds Harris switching to electric keyboard for a funky duel with Phillips’ sanctified organ.

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