Everette Harp is quite the busy man in the studio and on the road, and his prolific nature never ever takes any negative hits where quality production is concerned. While much has probably been written of his 2008 release, All For You, I want to take a special moment to recognize his 2007 effort, My Inspiration, for so many reasons. First, the album, not unlike many of his others, is a smokin’-hot example of the man’s intensity, smoothness, and ability to feel out a song while it’s probably still no more than a mere budding thought. Second, he is as beholden to his departed father as I am to mine, and I relate to the dedication of his album to the memory of his dad, of whom he obviously thinks the world. I cannot begin to tell you how such dedication appeals to people like me.
My Inspiration wastes no time blowing it out with the fiery, funky opening track, “Juke Joint,” and just steamrolls straight through to his heart-warming vocal tribute to his dad on the final and title track. Never at a loss for expression via his music, Harp has such a knack for striking that perfect note, literally, through the backdrop of nicely phrased passages and awesome scale work. His soulful, bluesy touch comes through loud and clear on such cuts as “In Time.” He plays and wears his intense sound so well, as is obvious on this rich production. The clarity, the fat bass lines, the gliding rhythms, and superbly structured melodies and chords are all unmistakably Harp.
Harp was one of the performers on this year’s Smooth Jazz Cruise with Wayman Tisdale, and, this being my very first time actually seeing the man perform (shame on me after so many years of being a smooth jazz fan!!), the searing magnificence of his sax and his effervescent presence floored me from the moment he strode on stage. Needless to say, when I realized what an insightful and reflective artist he is, as well, I counted myself among the very fortunate who were there that evening in the ship’s main entertainment lounge to bear witness to his consummate artistry. Oh, and this album? Continuing quality from a quality artist who apparently never allows his undeniably superior talent to outweigh his humility.