Phenomenal musicianship and improvisation by two fantastic jazz veterans produced an outing so simpatico, so delightful in nature; you’d be hard pressed to find another venture as purely enjoyable. When Harvie S invited Kenny Barron to record with him in the studio in 1986 (from the bonus studio time Harvie was given from teaching some master classes at Suny Purchase), who would have imagined the magic that would happen there. Now Was the Time, just released on High Note Records, is the result thereof.
In this 1986 outing, "there was no rehearsing, they just went in, played mostly standards and worked out the arrangements on the spot no mixing, no fixing," as was stated in the liner notes. They recorded the album "live on a 2-track early digital recording, (as analog was then the norm)."
What is remarkable is that this diamond of a recording might have never seen the light of day. It was a year ago when Harvie S was sorting through some old cassettes and came across a tape labeled Harvie S and Kenny Barron. Listening to the tape, Harvie should-a-had a V-8, because he could not believe he ever tried to put out a recording of their session. As luck would have it, Harvie’s cassette find proved golden because the master tape was lost. His Betamax cassette would be transferred by Malcolm Addey’s Beta machine to today’s standards, and Now Was the Time was born.
When you hear Harvie soloing the melodies on some of the best loved standards like "Body and Soul," while Barron comps a supportive rhythm, it’s just all too good to be true. Filled with exciting energy and interplay, this is jazz at its very best. The give and take is all about the why-ness of jazz. No egos get in the way of its purity. The only problem is you want more and more, finding yourself replaying it over and over again to get your fill.
Now Was the Time is the kind of CD you will talk about with jazz friends years from now, remembering the encounter of magnificence and the stunning simplicity of it all. It’s neither contrived nor staged...just honest jazz from a master duo. Straight-ahead, A+ and 5-stars all the way!