Bill Harris is a drummer who is outside the box. In this video he displays his imagination and technical prowess on the drum kit as he accompanies Manuel Barrueco's recording of Leo Brouwer's composition for classical guitar, Danza Caracteristica. Harris is melodic, stylish, clean, and unafraid. My favorite part of this transcription/performance is the drum break at about 50 seconds, before the guitar returns with the harmonic melody. His ability to effectively use empty space and stray from the recorded music conclusively establishes his thumb print on an already tremendously original idea.
In his own words:
The percussive arrangements in this video were composed and arranged by myself. Pianist and writer Ethan Iverson proposes a good question concerning jazz, classical, and the idea of "Third Stream" music: what does the drummer do? I've been interested in the idea of a rubato melody from the perspective of rhythm and the drum kit, and how to compensate in such a situation. This is no new or groundbreaking idea…I was just trying it out for myself. Playing with an actual classical guitar player would, of course, be more difficult due to dynamics. Maybe this is ridiculous in this context, but it was a fun experiment.
If you are unfamiliar with the original composition and would like to hear an unaccompanied version I have provided you with Ricardo Cobo's recording as a means of comparison.
Leo Brouwer Danza Caracteristica
Other rhythmic transcriptions and performances from Bill Harris are available here. If you are a fan of this video because of the inventive use of classical guitar you should also be happy to see that he re-imagines music from Julian Orbon and Heitor Villa-Lobos. For more information regarding Ethan Iverson and Third Stream Music check out this interview from his blog, Do The Math.If this video has gotten your taste buds wet for more Leo Brouwer, TWD is happy to oblige, click here and see how deep the rabbit hole goes…
Hey Bill Harris, I dig it. Loose the pre-recordings and lets do it live.