Allan Harris is an outstanding & internationally renowned vocalist, guitarrist and composer. His personal perspective concerning music can always be summed up in clear and straightforward terms. Over the past twenty years, Harris has steadily developed his reputation as one of the finest vocalists of his era. Brooklyn-born and Harlem-based, he has forged his sterling credentials through his previous albums, covering a broad range of contexts, all netted together within the rich territory of the jazz tradition. He has performed on a worldwide stage that has taken him to prestigious international festivals and halls in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as the 2012 Olympics in London.
In his home country, the USA, he has toured nationally at festivals and top venues, including New York’s Lincoln Center and D.C.’s Kennedy Center. He has received numerous awards, including the New York Nightlife Award for “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist” (which he won three times), the Backstage Bistro Award for “Ongoing Achievement in Jazz,” the Harlem Speaks “Jazz Museum of Harlem Award,” and the DownBeat Critic’s Poll Award for “Rising Star Vocalist.”
His music has an eclectic approach & focus, drawing upon the wide range of music that he heard growing up in Brooklyn and Harlem. “my songs capture some of the varied sounds and feelings that have shaped my growth as an artist. I had not one style to heavily rely upon when putting these tunes together, but only my young memories of music, people and events.”
A few years back, he collaborated with the Grammy Award-winning producer Brian Bacchus and Harris’ longtime keyboard cohort Pascal Le Boeuf (acoustic & electric pianos, and Hammond B3 organ), whose deep understanding and empathy for Harris’ music created a marvelous sense of intimacy and shared joy of expression.
In the year 2015 he released his album titled Nobody’s Gonna Love You Better. It is a bold statement that builds upon the entire breadth of Harris’ already esteemed reputation, demonstrating his enormous versatility within the full scope of his highly creative musical vision. Swinging jazz, rich R&B, rock, blues and even a touch of playful Brazilian are all woven seamlessly into the tapestry of a musical odyssey that is this great artist.
With a deeply resonant baritone/tenor voice that is soulful, richly expressive and flawless in both intonation and phrasing, Harris displays a total command and fluency in every context.
Harris pays homage in each of his songs to those who have provided the inspiration for his own highly personal sound, and specifically to Ray Charles, Nat ‘King’ Cole and Eddie Jefferson. His originals aptly demonstrate that he is as skilled a composer as a vocalist; and his lyrics are moving, heartfelt and poetic.
His latest work is The Genius of Eddie Jefferson, released in April 2018. With his gruff, gravelly voice, his penchant for hep cat diction, and the serpentine bebop turns of his vocalese creations, the late Eddie Jefferson might not seem the ideal match for a classic romantic crooner like Allan Harris.
Until embarking on the project that became The Genius of Eddie Jefferson, Harris would have agreed wholeheartedly with that assessment. “In my wildest dreams I never imagined I’d tackle Eddie Jefferson’s material,” he admits. “But once I started to sit down with his material and delve into what he was singing, it blew all of my stereotypes and prejudices out the window. How wrong I had been over the years not to give this incredible genius credit.”
Not only did Harris discover the depth of Jefferson’s estimable talents and innovations, but he found his own way into Jefferson’s idiosyncratic takes on the classic solos of jazz giants like Miles Davis, Dexter Gordon, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins. The album is an ideal blend of Harris’ rich, beguiling baritone and Jefferson’s bantering cool. The album follows Harris into adventurous new territory, at once embracing the challenge and making these bop classics as embracing and celebratory as his takes on jazz standards.
THE ALAN HARRIS BAND
Alan Harris: vocals & guitar
Pascal Le Boeuf: Piano
Shirazette Tinnin: Drums
Paco Perera: Bass