Album guests include piano legend Ellis Marsalis, sax icon Donald Harrison & vocalist/drummer Jamison Ross
Watch the video here
See previously released video “Never Let Me Go”via JazzTimes
New Orleans-based vocalist Roderick Harper has released his newest video for “Valsa Mineira.” The song will appear on his exceptional new album ‘Evolving’ out November 20, 2020.
Recorded live with a cast of friends and mentors (including appearances from late piano legend Ellis Marsalis, sax icon Donald Harrison, and vocalist/drummer Jamison Ross), ‘Evolving’ is both a homecoming and blank slate for Harper, a return to form and a start from scratch. The songs here span the full breadth of his remarkable journey and extraordinary talents, but rather than linger in nostalgia, they press forward with newfound immediacy and resolve. Harper’s delivery is vibrant and mesmerizing to match, his voice smooth as velvet as he charts his own distinctive course through a collection that’s equal parts head and heart. Sure, there’s plenty of vocal sophistication and dazzling instrumental work on the album, but at its core, ‘Evolving’ is all about raw emotion and gut instinct, about taking chances and breaking free. Harper is making up for lost time with this record, and he’s laying it all on the line in the process.
While ‘Evolving’ is certainly a showcase for Harper’s transportive vocals, it also demonstrates his skills as a consummate interpreter of song, and his choices here double as something of a loose autobiography. He nods to his roots with a bouncy, playful take on Alvin Batiste’s “Salty Dog,” says farewell to Ellis Marsalis with a soft and silky rendition of “Never Let Me Go” (which features one of Marsalis’ final recordings), and looks back on his time with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra on the Mingus classic “Duke Ellington’s Sound Of Love.” Throughout the album, Harper tips his cap to a host of friends and influences who shaped his journey (he salutes Shirley Horn with a jaunty performance of “The Great City” and celebrates Betty Carter with a gentle take on her “Look What I Got”), but he spends an equal amount of time looking forward, meditating on justice and race with the soulful “Someday We’ll All Be Free” and pushing his personal artistic limits with an adventurous performance of “Valsa Mineira.” Perhaps the collection’s most affecting moment, though, arrives with album closer “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?” Soft and breathy, it’s both a heartbroken lament and a tender embrace, a wistful sigh and a welcome home.
Roderick Harper Online: