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Javon Jackson With Les McCann: 'Swiss Movement' Revisited

Forty years ago, the Les McCann trio with Eddie Harris and Benny Bailer recorded <em>Swiss Movement</em>, a legendary live concert from the 1969 Montreaux Jazz Festival.
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Forty years ago, the Les McCann trio with Eddie Harris and Benny Bailer recorded Swiss Movement, a legendary live concert from the 1969 Montreaux Jazz Festival.

One of the great concerts of all time took place 40 years ago at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It was June 1969, and two of the headliners — the soulful pianist and vocalist Les McCann and the innovative saxophonist Eddie Harris — had already performed with their own groups. The two kindred spirits, who had never played together before, decided to get together for a little jam session, and the result was magic.

With tunes like "Cold Duck Time" and the anti-war hit single "Compared to What," the resulting album, Swiss Movement, became a bestseller while introducing a new generation to jazz. It also spawned a legendary musical partnership that lasted until Harris' death in 1996.

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Swiss Movement, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson brought veteran Les McCann and a young trio to the KC Jazz Club for Swiss Movement Revisited on Nov. 8, 2008.

Jackson is used to working with legends. He cut his musical teeth with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in the 1980s. He went on to record with such greats as the late Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, Cedar Walton and Stanley Turrentine. Today, Jackson leads his own group, and his latest release (Once Upon a Melody) hit No. 1 on the jazz radio charts. His band members are all young, talented players, and the interaction onstage at the Kennedy Center between these young tigers and that old lion of the keyboard, Les McCann, is joyful, bringing the people to their feet.

Credits:

The Kennedy Center's director of jazz programming is Kevin Struthers; field producer and writer is Mark Schramm; recording/mix engineer is Duke Markos with Big Mo Recording, Greg Hartman and Sean Owen; and Dee Dee Bridgewater's recording engineer is Ginger Bruner at KUNV in Las Vegas.

Copyright 2009 WBGO

Mark Schramm, JazzSet
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