Corey Harris
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Blueswax 6
Rating 5

The Omnipresent Story Teller, (12/02/09)

Corey Harris' comes on the heels of Zion Crossroads from 2007 and attempts to mix (first and foremost) reggae, plus smidgeons of gospel, Delta Blues, and worldly Afro and Caribbean sounds. The title is derived from the opening "Blue" and the closing "Black." In between there are roots reggae tracks, a handful of ballads, and Afro-based songs. A majority of was co-authored by producer and keyboard player Chris 'Peanut' Whitley, and it's an interesting collaboration, but it is definitely not straight Blues. And when you look back at Harris' career, rarely has this been the case for the eclectic and always roots-based Harris.

In 2007 Mr. Harris was awarded a half million dollars from the MacArthur Foundation fellowship. This annual grant (of one-hundred thousand dollars for five years) recognizes individuals that display originality, creativity and a commitment to progressive innovative work. Harris was described as an artist who "forges an adventurous path marked by deliberate eclecticism."

Additionally, in '07 Harris was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Bates College, his alma mater from Lewiston, Maine. Both of these immense recognitions speak volumes of the respect Corey receives from his peers. Which takes us current to the 2009 blu-black release that mostly goes down smoothly as Harris (the omnipresent story teller) continues to emit positive themes that may or may not be your favorite roux, but nonetheless Mr. Harris obtains the unique ability to blend various genre ingredients, which all adds up to being one of the most non-genre-associated releases of 2009.

Bob Putignano: