Compared To What

Les McCann & Eddie Harris


The famous recorded version is seen on film

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It was one of the highpoints in both of the careers of pianist-singer Les McCann and tenor-saxophonist Eddie Harris.

Performed at the 1968 Montreux Jazz Festival, “Compared To What” as sung by McCann became an antiwar anthem.

For this classic performance, McCann and his regular trio with bassist Leroy Vinnegar and drummer Donald Dean were joined at the last minute by Harris and trumpeter Benny Bailey (who was in particularly explosive form, utilizing a plunger mute); neither of the horns had an opportunity to rehearse with the group beforehand.

The results were released as the famous album Swiss Movement and then years later it was discovered that the whole performance was captured on film.

The success of this set resulted in Les McCann emphasizing his singing over his keyboard work in later years.

This is a historic moment that was luckily captured on film.

-Scott Yanow


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