Happy 45th: Eddie Harris, Come On Down!
45 years ago today, jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris recorded an album which, based on its cover, could well have been subsidized by Sunkist. We don’t remember seeing the company’s name anywhere in the thank-you section, but if you’ve got some better explanation for artwork features a sax player with an orange for a head standing on a beach with oranges in front of him, we’re all ears.
What’s that? You say it probably has something to do with the fact that Come On Down! was recorded in Miami? Well, sure, that could have something to do with it. In fact, you’re probably right. That actually makes a lot more sense. (Note to self: remove Sunkist conspiracy theory from Come On Down! Wikipedia page ASAP.)
We don’t know the specific reasons behind Harris’s decision to head down to Florida for this particular session, but we do know that the end result is an energetic, enjoyable listen. Some might argue that there’s a little bit too much electric guitar for a proper jazz album, but A) there’s nothing wrong with a little rock ‘n’ roll and/or rhythm and blues now and then, and B) when you’ve got axeman Cornell Dupree teamed up with bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn, why not make the most of it, you know what we’re saying?
Songs like “Footlish,” “Really,” and “Why Don’t You Quit” certainly make for good listening, and Harris’s revisiting of “Live Right Now,” originally introduced on his 1968 album, Plug Me In, sounds great in its new musical environment. If you know Eddie Harris’s work – or even if you don’t – and you’ve never given Come On Down! a listen, the 45th anniversary of the day it first came into existence is certainly a good day to change that.