Al Harewood: 1923-2014
Al Harewood is a name you rarely heard these days but it’s regrettable since he was a helluva drummer from the ‘50s through the ‘70s, playing on notable jazz recordings with trumpeter Booker Ervin, saxophonists Dexter Gordon, Lou Donaldson, Stan Getz, and Stanley Turrentine, jazz French horn pioneer David Amram, singer Betty Carter, pianist Horace Parlan, and guitarist Grant Green, among many others. [See the Spotify file below.] He was a staple on the old Blue Note label, known for his sensitive, melodic timekeeping more than flashy solos. He passed away this week at the age of 90.
Harewood was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1923, the son of natives of Barbados who had moved to the US. He got his start in music with the Bill “Bojangles” Robinson school of dance. Famously, he got his break in jazz when he subbed for a friend on a date with trombonist J.J. Johnson. That led to recordings, and the rest, as they say, is history as he worked steadily for decades. Though he never recorded as a leader of his own band, his name shows up on 183 recordings and reissues on allmusic.com