Jazz closes seriesMarch 16, 2017
From Local Sources
JASPER — Allan Harris and friends will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Jasper Arts Center. This is the final show in the Backstage series for the season.
An outstanding and internationally renowned vocalist, guitarist and composer, Allan Harris sums up his personal perspective on music in clear and straightforward terms: “There is nothing that I have found that defines and gives credence to my place in this wild and mysterious universe than this thing called music.”
Harris exemplifies that statement perfectly with his new album, “Nobody’s Gonna Love You Better (Black Bar Jukebox Redux),” his eleventh album following on the heels of his highly acclaimed 2015 release “Black Bar Jukebox.”
For the album, Harris takes an even more eclectic approach, drawing upon the wide range of music that he heard growing up in Brooklyn, and feasting on the expansive palette of the Harlem cultural landscape.
Since he burst on the jazz scene in the latter part of the 20th century, the Brooklyn-born, Harlem-based Harris has reigned supreme as one of the most accomplished and exceptional singers of his generation. The Miami Herald described Harris as an artist blessed with “the warmth of Tony Bennett, the bite and rhythmic sense of Sinatra, and the sly elegance of Nat ‘King’ Cole.”
Harris’ soulful sound comes from his rich musical home life, which extended deep into the artistic world of Harlem. His mother, Johanna Chemina Ingram-Harris, was a concert pianist and a graduate of the first class of New York’s legendary High School for the Performing Arts. Growing up, Harris went to the Apollo for the Sunday afternoon matinees, and visited his Aunt Kate’s famous soul food restaurant, Kate’s Home Cooking, located behind the theater.
In this setting, Harris met many jazz and R&B stars who worked at the Apollo and came by the restaurant to eat and hang out. Through his Aunt Phoebe, Harris met and was mentored by a seminal jazz figure, Clarence Williams.
“We used to go to his record store, and he’d come into our house on Lincoln Avenue,” Harris explains.
It was Williams who brought Louis Armstrong to the Harris home, and babysat the future crooner, who was frightened by Satchmo’s gravelly, “frog like voice.”
Brooklyn-born and Harlem-based, Harris has forged his sterling credentials through his 10 previous albums, covering a broad range of contexts, all netted together within the rich territory of the jazz tradition.
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