All the rave reviews about this album are justified; this is a superb, sizzling, and very soulful live recording from 1970. According to the liner notes this recording was made "almost as an afterthought" by Blue Note. But afterwards, the label decided not to release the show, keeping it in the Blue Note vaults until it finally saw the light of day in 2000. But patience is rewarded; this is a fantastic album.
Recorded in 1970 but not released until 1996, Live At the "It Club" shows the Three Sounds pulling out funky, gritty rhythms out of their basic bluesy hard-bop sound. The group's funky influences are most noticeable in the rhythm section of drummer Carl Burnette and bassist Henry Franklin, who had been playing with Harris for only a short time when this set was recorded. The rhythm section pushes Harris, making the music loose and swinging – the groove matters more than anything on the album. Occasionally, the energy of the Three Sounds lags, but Live at the "It Club" is an enjoyable piece of grooving soul-jazz.
Recorded on the opening night of the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal as part of an eight-concert series paying tribute to Charlie Haden. While the other evenings all featured stellar musicians and wonderful collaborations, this one is special because it features Haden in a trio of players not usually associated with him: drummer Al Foster – fresh from Miles Davis' band, and the late tenor giant Joe Henderson. In fact, Haden has subtitled the set, "Tribute to Joe Henderson." There are four extended tunes on the set, the shortest of which is the opener, a gorgeous, wide open rendering of Thelonious Monk's "'Round Midnight," on which Henderson begins to display some of the same modal soloing traits he employed on his Blue Note recordings Mode for Joe, and Inner Urge.
At first glance the letters B-H-Y may not seem like much, but a little scratch at the surface would reveal three names of some of the most forward thinking, innovative and talented musicians of their time and beyond – Ronnie Baker, Norman Harris and Earl Young. Baker-Harris-Young, these three names are synonymous with Philly Soul and Disco and with good reason for no three people have had more input into shaping and defining disco as Baker, Harris and Young.