|Decades:||1980s 1990s 2000s|
Willard Palmer Harris, 28 October 1916, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 19 September 1973, Hallandale, Florida, USA. Harris first played trombone in name bands when he was in his early twenties, having previously performed mostly in and around his home-town. After deputizing with Gene Krupa and Ray McKinley he was hired by Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet and other well-known band leaders, then in 1944 joined Woody Herman, with whom he worked intermittently for 15 years. It was while he was with Herman that his rumbustious, attacking solo style became known to big band fans. Instantly identifiable from his ripe tone and the broad humour with which he laced his solos, Harris was slightly influenced by bebop but maintained strong links with his swing era roots. Among the bands with which he worked in between his appearances with Herman were those of Boyd Raeburn, Benny Carter, Charlie Ventura, the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, and he also toured with Jazz At The...