Barry Harris

Barry Doyle Harris, born December 15, 1929, died December 8, 2021. He was an American jazz pianist and bandleader. He was a proponent of bebop. Harris was born December 15, 1929 in Detroit, Michigan. Harris started playing the piano when he was four years old. His mother, who was a church pianist, asked Harris if he would like to play jazz or church music. He chose jazz and was greatly influenced by Thelonious Montk and Bud Powell. He learned bebop mostly by ear in his teens, mimicking solos by Powell. Powell’s style was described by Powell as the “epitome of jazz.” He was a dancer in clubs and ballrooms. Through the 1950s, he was based in Detroit and worked with Miles Davis and Sonny Stitt. He also substituted for Junior Mance as a Gene Ammons member. After Richie Powell (the band’s pianist, and younger brother to Bud Powell) died in a car accident, Harris briefly toured with Max Roach. Harris was a member of Cannonball Adderley’s quintet, and appeared on television with them. He moved to New York City in 1965 and worked as an educator. He worked extensively at the Village Vanguard with Coleman Hawkins between 1965 and 1969. Harris lived at the Weehawken home of Baroness Pannonica De Koenigswarter, New Jersey jazz patron, during the 1970s. In 1974, he was Monk’s substitute in rehearsals at New York Jazz Repertory Company. He performed in Japan at the Yubin Chokin concert hall, Tokyo, for two days. His performances were recorded and compiled by Xanadu Records into an album. He was the leader of the Jazz Cultural Workshop, 8th Avenue, New York from 1982 to 1987. Harris worked with Howard Rees from the 1990s to create videos and workbooks that documented his improvisational and harmonic systems as well as his teaching process. Harris held music workshops in New York City for singers and students of piano, as well as other musicians. Harris performed duets with Tommy Flanagan in Thelonious Monk, Clint Eastwood’s 1989 documentary. He was featured in Barry Harris – Spirit of Bebop 2000. Harris continued to hold weekly workshops, even during the COVID-19 epidemic. He also offered them online. Harris, who was 92 years old on December 8, 2021, died from COVID-19 complications in New Jersey’s COVID-19 pandemic. From Wikipedia

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