The West Coast saxophonist known for his associations with the masterful quintet led by trumpeter Clifford Brown and drummer Max Roach in the mid-50's and with the internationally acclaimed quintet he co-led with Bobby Hutcherson in the late '60s. He engaged in an individualistic style and an expressive tone, mixing compelling melody readings with alluring improvisations.
Land, born in Houston and raised in San Diego, moved to Los Angeles in the early '50s. In 1954, he joined the famed Brown-Roach quintet, with which he toured the United States and recorded several albums for EmArcy (all of which are available as reissue CDs). After two years with the ensemble, Land felt the need to be closer to his family, which was in Los Angeles, and so he returned and resided there ever since.
He soon began to establish himself as one of the most singular and powerful of jazzmen, making albums with bassists Red Mitchell and Curtis Counce and then, in 1958, making his solo debut (he had recorded four selections in 1949 that were released by Savoy). “Harold in the Land of Jazz,” was issued on Contemporary Records, and was followed a year later by “The Fox,” which many consider his best early recording. He did an impromptu date in the spring of 1960, rising star Wes Montgomery was living in San Francisco and the Cannonball Adderley Quintetwith its Barry Harris/Sam Jones/Louis Hayes rhythm section was all brought in for a classic blowing session that resulted in “West Coast Blues.”