Basho Records - Contemporary JazzBASHO RECORDS


Frank Harrison - First Light

Frank Harrison
First Light

Frank Harrison (piano), Aidan O’Donnell (bass), Stephen Keogh (drums)



“Frank Harrison is one of the most talented young musicians I have heard” - Ronnie Scott

“His talent shines among his peers” - Julian Joseph

“Piano wunderkind Frank Harrison conveys an alluring cool” - MOJO

“Frank Harrison, despite his young years, is often almost frighteningly reminiscent of Art Tatum at the height of his powers” - Rainlore

“Frank Harrison was a wonderful pianist, delicately articulate, weaving and probing” - Nottingham Evening Post

“Pianist Frank Harrison stretched towards cranium-shattering levels of intensity” - The Guardian

Label Basho Records
Release Date 1st May 2006
Title “First Light”
Artist Frank Harrison
Catalogue Number SRCD 15-2
Barcode 832929001529
UK Distribution Proper Music

This Spring Frank Harrison launches his debut album FIRST LIGHT on Basho Records. Frank displays an extraordinarily mature musicality for his age. The music is original, thoughtful, delicate and imbued with texture and colour. It's very lack of over-exuberance and freneticism is a refreshing change. This is thought–provoking and intense.

Tracks are:

1. You Can't Go Home Again (Don Sebesky) 4:57
2. What Is This Thing Called Love (Cole Porter) 7:07
3. Afternoon In Tromso (Frank Harrison) 5:58
4. First Light (Frank Harrison) 5:38
5. Jinni (Frank Harrison) 5:10
6. Nature Boy (Eden Ahbez) 2:52
7. Love Theme From "Spartacus" (Alex North) 5:29
8. Maria's Planet Song (Frank Harrison) 4:19
9. Falling (Frank Harrison) 3:59

Total time 45:34


Frank Harrison was born in Oxford on 8 July 1978. He took up the piano at 11, and began playing gigs when he was 15. In 1994 he won the soloist award in the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Competition, and in 1996 placed second in Young Jazz Musician Of The Year.

After taking up a scholarship at Berklee School Of Music, Boston, he returned to England and joined Gilad Atzmon's band. In 2000 they started the Orient House Ensemble, with whom Frank has recorded four albums on Enja Records, including BBC Jazz Album Of The Year 2003, "Exile". The band regularly tours Europe, playing at major Jazz and World music festivals. Frank has also performed with Peter King, Don Weller, Julian Siegel, Alan Barnes, John Etheridge and Iain Ballamy.

Aidan O'Donnell studied Jazz bass at Birmingham Conservatoire from 1999-2003. After finishing his degree, he moved back to Scotland where he joined both the Tommy Smith Quartet and the Colin Steele Quintet. He moved to London in November 2003, where he joined Alan Skidmore's Quartet, and began freelancing with a wide variety of musicians. He has performed with visiting artists such as Dave Binney, Charles McPherson and David Berkman, and appeared on 6 albums as a sideman.


Born in Ireland, Stephen followed his studies there with private lessons in London and New York. He played as percussionist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, contemporary music ensembles and many visiting jazz artists including Sonny Fortune, Eddie Locklaw Davis, Jimmy Witherspoon, Pat La Barbera, Louis Stewart, and James Moody.

A move to London in 1988 led to tours and recordings with many British and American jazz artists including Stan Tracey, Charles McPherson, Art Farmer, Jason Rebello, Jean Toussaint and Benny Carter. Since moving to Barcelona in 1990, Stephen has worked all over the world with many great musicians including Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Harrold Land, Peter King Quartet, Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner, Herb Ellis, Benny Golson and Steve Grossman. He a member of the European Jazz Piano Trio led by Bill Charlap, Peter King Quartet and co-leads the Urban Jazz Quintet and Urban Jazz Ensemble.

05/05/2006 John Fordham, The Guardian 3 stars
Harrison is most familiar as Gilad Atzmon's pianist, and the 2006 Atzmon group's diversion toward keyboard electronics might suggest a hint of that on Harrison's personal debut. But this is an acoustic-trio set in Brad Mehldau territory, and the scalding pace and motivic zigzagging of What Is This Thing Called Love? is a reminder both of how much spark remains in this familiar jazz-ensemble format, and how many good examples of it there are in the UK.
Harrison is accompanied by the bassist they call Scotland's Dave Holland - Aidan O'Donnell - and by that sensitive small-group drummer Stephen Keogh. The pianist's quiet, rippling originals take five tracks; there are three standards, and a brooding account of the Spartacus theme with O'Donnell in conversational support. Harrison's swaying ballad Jinni is the most openly songlike of his own pieces (Bill Evans-like in its accelerating development), but - as with Mehldau - the most elliptical, preoccupied overtures develop unexpected fireworks. A promising start.

06/04/2006 Peter Bevan, Northern Echo
Pianist Frank Harrison will be familiar from Gilad Atzmon’s groups but this debut album presents him in a new light. He’s accompanied by bass player Aidan O’Donnell and drummer Stephen Keogh but it’s Harrison who stands out on a session which is as delicate and expressive as anything else I’ve heard, helped by a crystal clear recording. It’s simply beautiful.

Review by Chris Parker for the Vortex website (
22nd March 06

Given the atmospheric Graham Murrell light-study photographs adorning its sleeve, and the understated delicacy of its music, First Light might almost be mistaken for an ECM release; the five Harrison compositions, too, gently insistent, utilising the slowest of tempos to produce gracefully haunting piano-trio music, may remind some listeners of Paul Motian’s rubato pieces for that label. This said, however, the album is clearly a highly personal project, its non-original material (Don Sebesky’s luxuriously stately ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’, Cole Porter’s perennially intriguing standard ‘What is This Thing Called Love’, Alex North’s tender ‘Love Theme from Spartacus’ and Eden Ahbez’s ‘Nature Boy’, performed solo) intelligently selected to showcase not only Harrison’s luminous yet muscular approach, but also the interactive spontaneity of a surefooted rhythm section: bassist Aidan O’Donnell and drummer Stephen Keogh. Poise, elegance and dynamic control are the trioÍs watchwords, but there is power in evidence as well, Keogh’s drumming in particular crackling with tastefully suppressed energy; overall, though, this is very much Harrison’s album, pleasingly homogeneous in mood and approach, and demonstrating just why he is regarded as a rising star in the jazz world.