Album of the Week: Swiss Movement


Les McCann & Eddie Harris - Swiss Movement (Atlantic, 1969)

I don't profess to have the deepest critical knowledge of jazz, especially with managing editor Steve Holtje being our resident expert, but I definitely have a deep appreciation. Regardless, Swiss Movement by Les McCann and Eddie Harris remains of one of my favorite live jazz albums. I just picked up a super-clean used copy of it at one of my favorite vinyl shops in Akron, Ohio.

The above track -- "Compared to What," written by Gene McDaniels, recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in1969 -- was one of my favorite soul jazz tunes when I was just getting into jazz. And I still never tire of this timeless classic, nor the album. The rest of the set burns with the same ferocity sans vocals. And while I thought I knew everything about this album, I recently discovered that saxophonist Eddie Harris and trumpeter Benny Bailey had never played or rehearsed together with the Les McCann Trio before hitting the stage in Montreux. I suspect that's why they have such energy on stage. Atlantic/Rhino (8122798047) reissued the album back in 2010.

I would also suggest you seek out another scorching version of "Compared to What" by Brian Auger's Oblivion Express from their Closer to It album (RCA, 1973). Brian's churning and burning organ really pump up the vibe. I recently reviewed it here. In fact, I would encourage a listen to both albums as soon as possible.