Harold Land…The Great Tenor Man!!
Harold Land (Feb 18, 1928– July 27, 2001) today is the birthday of the most underrated Tenor saxophonist in Jazz history. From very early in his career he ‘s played with the best, he played in The Max Roach and Clifford Brown Quintet and what a wonderful Post-Bop vehicle for his talent it was.
Harold grew up in San Diego and started playing the saxophone at 16 when he heard ‘Body And Soul”. In 1949 he recorded his first album as leader for the Savoy label, Harold Land Allstars. During a jam session at the home of Eric Dolphy, Clifford Brown heard Land play and hired him on the spot for his quintet with Max Roach replacing Teddy Edwards on the tenor. He stayed for 2 years playing some of the best in Bebop becoming quite famous in jazz circles. In 1955 Harold returned home upon hearing his grandmother was dying in L.A., What might have he became if he stayed in the New York Jazz scene we will never know. As it was he remained on the West Coast and joined The Curtis Counce Group recording with them and making his own albums as leader for the Contemporary label. In the 1970’s, he recorded a number of albums for the Concord label and in the 80’s he joined the Timeless All-Stars sextet. He returned to performing on his own more frequently and widely in the late 1990’s and even became a teacher of Jazz at the University of California in L.A.