About Kevin Harris
About Kevin Harris
A distinctive trait of internationally acclaimed jazz pianist Kevin Harris is his desire to constantly grow, evolve, improve, and advance.
His interest to interweave traditional and contemporary music styles, visual arts, electronic media, science, and language, is what distinguishes his music and what renders his performances unique experiences, meant to activate the audience’s senses and personal curiosity.
"Participation,” Harris says, "is what keeps our souls alive.” Both live and recorded performances reflect Harris’s determination to capture his audience through explorative interactions that Terri Lyne Carrington describes as "an exciting commitment to quality."
Harris’ music education has its foundation in the degrees he has received, but equally importantly in Black Gospel and Afro-Caribbean styles of music. He possesses the unique ability to compose complex, uplifting, tempestuous, and deeply stimulating notes.
One of the captivating elements of his ensembles, from duet to orchestra setting, is the level of comfort and understanding they have with one another. Harris is known for his diving into soulfully expressive conversations and playful exchanges of ideas with his musicians, while always providing the space to improvise in the moment.
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.”
Some of his most notable collaborations are with Dayna Stephens, Ralph Peterson, Ameen Saleem, Greg Hutchinson Greg Osby, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Curtis Lundy, Caroline Davis, Bill Pierce, Francisco Mela, Avishai Cohen, Eddie Gomez, Duane Eubanks, Richie Barshay, Ben Street, Jason Palmer, Rudy Royston, Frank Lacey, Eric McPherson, Noah Preminger, and Terri Lyne Carrington.
Harris performs at renowned national and international venues
Among his recurring International and national performances are venues such as the Blue Note (NYC, Beijing, Milan, and Boston), New York’s Smalls and Mezzrow, Copenhagen’s JazzHus Montmartre-Denmark, Perugia Jazz Festival-Italy, Lima Jazz Festival-Peru, Boston Wally’s Jazz Club-USA, Havana Jazz Festival-Cuba, Panama Jazz Festival - Panama, Catania Jazz-Italy, to name a few.
As a composer, one of Harris' innovative projects is “Roots, Water and Sunlight: A Contemporary Octet Expedition through the Expressions of James Baldwin," where he put music to the renowned and significant thoughts shared by James Baldwin.
He is currently completing a commissioned work entitled “Pulse”, a new work for oboe, violins, cello, acoustic bass, and piano, to be released in 2023
As an Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Neighborhood Salon Luminary, he released a solo piano work entitled "Doorways" at Calderwood Hall in the Gardner Museum. The Salon’s goal is to exchange creative ideas and dialogue with some of Boston’s most innovative artists while shaping Gardner Museum programming.
With his “Griot Series”, Harris asks his audience to broaden their perception of how the role of African Griot can be reimagined from an American historical perspective
The collaborative project with trumpeter Jason Palmer, “Upward Mothers”, aims to bring awareness about mothers who have lost children to senseless acts of violence.
As a leader, he has released six albums. Harris thrives on a courageously playful style of communication in music, a style, in his opinion, that requires a very special and sincere habit of listening and an equally patient endeavor to express oneself with enthusiastic curiosity.
(More info at Music page)
Harris is in demand as a clinician, lecturer, and guest artists, consistently collaborating with both public and private organizations nationally and internationally. (See: Educational Programs page)
He is currently on the faculty at Berklee College of Music where he coaches ensembles, theory classes, piano labs, and private piano instruction. Additionally he is part of Berklee's Mentoring Program, and he leads the Berklee Piano Club.
He serves as a Board member for International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers, JazzBoston, the New England Conservatory Alumni Council, and Berklee Soundboard.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly...
Harris hopes that one of his typical interactions will always inspire the audience to walk away with a sense of joyful connectedness and community.
"Participation,” he says, "is what keeps our souls alive."