Monday, August 14, 2006

R.I.P. Rufus Harley, Jazz Bagpiper

I'm ashamed to admit that I don't think I'd heard of Mr. Harley before today, when I ran across his obituary. From Harley's Wikipedia entry:

Harley became inspired to learn the bagpipe after seeing the Black Watch perform in John F. Kennedy's funeral procession in November 1963. Then a maintenance worker for the Philadelphia's housing authority, Harley began searching the city for a set of bagpipes. Failing to find one, he traveled to New York City where he found a set in a Jewish-operated pawn shop. He purchased the instrument for US$120, quickly adapting it to the idioms of jazz, blues, and funk. On several occasions, when a neighbor called the police to complain about Harley's practicing in his apartment, he would quickly put away his bagpipes and feign ignorance, asking the officers, "Do I look like I'm Irish or Scottish to you?"

MP3: Sonny Rollins (feat. Rufus Harley) ~ Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (from Rollins' 1974 release The Cutting Edge)

Amazon: Rufus Harley--Re-Creation of the Gods
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