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"Plays and writes with flair and real soul." - Fred Hersch
Kevin Harris Project: Griot Footsteps
Dayna Stephens - Sax
Will Slater - Bass
Terri Lyne Carrington - Drums
The West African Griot encompasses the characteristics of a musician, historian, poet, teacher, advisor, ambassador, and storyteller. In his most recent project, "Griot Footsteps," Kevin Harris explores the powerful message and music of Stevie Wonder, unquestionably one of America's most formidable griots.
When the unmistakable musical influences of Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker intersect with J.S. Bach, Scott Joplin, and the folkloric rhythms of Cuba, could one possibly conceptualize the celebration that occurs at that intersection? New York-based jazz pianist Kevin Harris plays a distinctive combination of traditional and contemporary music that seeks to explore such a crossroads.
Fred Hersch talks of Harris as one who "plays and writes with flair and real soul" and Downbeat Magazine writes that "Harris' compositions deal with themes of strength, love, courage, and self- awareness. It's a heavy task he's set up for himself, and he meets the challenge gracefully." One of the captivating elements of the Kevin Harris Project is the level of comfort and understanding they have with one another, diving into soulfully expressive conversations and playful exchanges of ideas. Both live and recorded performances reflect Harris's determination to capture his audience through exploratory interactions that Terri Lyne Carrington describes as "an exciting commitment to quality".
Among Harris' most notable collaborations are Greg Osby, Bill Pierce, Francisco Mela, Avishai Cohen, Eddie Gomez, Duane Eubanks, Richie Barshay, Ben Street, Steve Langone, Jason Palmer, Jerry Bergonzi, Yoron Israel, Tommy Campbell, Dezron Douglas, and Terri Lyne Carrington. He has also performed at national and international venues such as Blue Note (NYC, Boston, and Milan), Smalls Jazz Club, JazzHus Montmartre, Wally's, and more.
Harris thrives on communication. A typical performance always involves interacting with the audience, inspiring a sense of joyful connectedness and community. "Participation," Harris says, "is what keeps our souls alive."