The Sound, The Rhythm
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The Sound The Rhythm is the fourth album by the Jan Harbeck Quartet. It follows the collaboration with saxophonist Walter Smith III on Variations in Blue (Stunt, 2014). That album was significant because it began Harbeck's documentation of his own compositions with the quartet, and since then he has continued to explore his own voice through compositions.
Harbeck has professed a love for Ben Webster and Paul Gonsalves, and their way of playing ballads and swinging standards from the heart has seeped into his playing. He has also received modern impulses from George Garzone, whose advanced idea of shaping atonal lines without a fixed harmonic pattern has influenced his musical language, but it all began with Ben Webster.
While these guests add spice, it's the empathic playing of the quartet that is the foundation of the album. The four musicians play for each other and together they transform Webster's and Harbeck's pieces into their own language. It's not just a repetition of the past. The dissonant lyricism in the piano intro to the closer, "Circle," could only come from a post-swing period, but when the romantic voice of Harbeck's saxophone breaks through, the connection to Webster is established again. It's different and yet the same. That sound. That rhythm.