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“This was a really big thing for me. My dad was a folk musician, but before he quit and got a real job, he had a folk-fusion band. The closest thing I can compare it to is Joni Mitchell’s band that she had with Jaco Pastorius. It was kind of like that.
“So fusion jazz was always around me as a kid – that’s a sentence I’ve only heard come out of my own mouth. [Laughs] Eddie Harris is easily my favorite player ever. The things I like about him are, he can be really impressive and wow you with a really wild run, but more often than not, he’s going to rely on a really good rhythm and melody. It’s almost like the really delicate pop version of weird, left-field music.
“I read a review of him once that said he needed gimmicks, which is untrue – he doesn’t. And then he has the gimmick, and that’s awesome. Like, if you take the gimmick out, it’s still really good music, but put the gimmick in and it’s even more fun.
“The Electrifying Eddie Harris is the album that kind of establishes that he’s the guy who runs the saxophone through a synthesizer, which is just a wild idea. But from there he has albums where he sings through a trumpet bell, or he invents hybrid instruments, like a saxophone-fingered instrument with a trumpet mouthpiece. But he always made hummable songs that stuck in my head. I really love this album.”