My favorite piano rendition of Summertime? Gene Harris’, hands down! | #Jazz on Blog#42

I grew up listening to Jazz, specifically Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz. 

Gene Harris was an incredible pianist. I’ve seen him compared to  Oscar Peterson, in my readings. I hesitate to do that since each virtuoso’s style was so different from the other. Harris’ style had a texture and depth, an almost  religious quality that was entirely different than Peterson’s aura.

The tradition in jazz is to compare renditions of a piece against other renditions, both by the same artist and different artists. Comparisons can get quite nerdy. There is an art to writing about jazz. It is a talent that I don’t possess, but I sure appreciate a nerdy discussion.

Listening to this rendition of Summertime, he touches a place in the soul that just doesn’t have a name:

If you listen past the first video, you will hear a second performance by Harris of Summertime, also with the Ray Brown Trio:

A biographical nugget I found:

“… he was born and raised in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and his name at birth was Eugene Hair (he changed it when he began performing professionally). His parents still live there – in fact, he appeared at Benton Harbor High School in November 1993, and asked his father from the stage, “Do you forgive me?” (for changing his name) during a phenomenal performance with his current quartet.”

Interview with Gene Harris: Jazz Spotlight, 1994