Gene Harris Biography

1 September 1933, Benton Harbour, Michigan, USA, d. 16 January 2000, Boise, Idaho, USA. A self-taught pianist, Harris extended his playing ability from its original boogie-woogie base while on military service. In the mid-50s he formed the Three Sounds with drummer Bill Dowdy and bass player Andrew Simpkins. The trio played highly popular bluesy mainstream jazz and recorded prolifically for Blue Note Records throughout the 60s. After his colleagues moved on, Harris turned towards jazz rock but returned to the mainstream in the late 70s. In subsequent decades he worked with Ernestine Anderson, Benny Carter, Scott Hamilton, Stanley Turrentine and others, was leader of the all-star Philip Morris Super Band which toured extensively, recorded several albums, and appeared at New York’s Apollo backing B.B. King. A solid accompanist, for many years Harris was at his exuberant best playing in the blues idiom. Before his untimely death due to a kidney disorder, he had begun to broaden his repertoire, playing swinging, muscular mainstream bop piano, although the blues were happily never far away.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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