This week on New Orleans Calling host George Ingmire visits saxophonist, student of jazz, and educator, Donald Harrison, Jr. to talk about everything from Miles Davis to Nouveau Swing, personal inspirations to the importance of experiences and collaborations.
Donald grew up in New Orleans in a family of musicians and creative people, studied with the great jazz teacher Alvin Batiste at Southern University, and then at Berklee School of Music in Boston.
Following Charlie Parker’s motto “If you didn’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn,” he set out to meet and play with the greatest jazz musicians he could, and made the experiences a part of himself. In the 1980s he and fellow New Orleanian Terence Blanchard worked with the great Art Blakey, and he also got the opportunity to work with more of his idols, including Miles Davis, and musicians who performed alongside John Coltrane and Charlie Parker.
And it’s now part of his life’s work to share that level of experience with young musicians, including the high school-age players at the Tipitina’s Intern Program in New Orleans.
A special performance was recorded live by New Orleans Calling for this program: Donald performing with bassist Max Moran, drummer Joe Dyson, piano player Shea Pierre, and guitarist Detroit Brooks at the historic Basin St Station.
Max Moran, Joe Dyson, and piano player Conun Pappas make up the Bridge Trio.
Donald Harrison Jr refers to his nephew Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, a Grammy-nominated trumpeter, who has created a type of jazz hee calls “Stretch Music.”
Donald is also the Big Chief of Congo Square Nation Afro-New Orleans cultural group.
He appeared as himself in 11 episodes of the HBO drama Treme, in which the character Delmond Lambreaux was also based loosely on his life and career.
Donald Harrison, Jr. with Ron Carter, Billy Cobham – “Seven Steps to Heaven” (music bed)
Donald Harrison, Jr. – “Cherokee Music” (music bed)
Miles Davis – “Freddie Freeloader” (music bed)
Louis Armstrong All Stars – “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue” (music bed)
Donald Harrison, Jr. – “All Blues”
John Coltrane – “Chronic Blues” (music bed)
Donald Harrison, Jr. presents the New Orleans Legacy Ensemble – “Spirits of Congo Square” (music bed)
Jelly Roll Morton – “Boogie Woogie Blues (music bed)
Donald Harrison, Jr. with Ron Carter, Billy Cobham – “Heroes”
Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Mal Waldron, Richard Davis, Eddie Blackwell – “Fire Waltz”
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – “Duck Soup”
Donald Harrison, Jr. – “Free to Be” (music bed)
The Cookers – “Slippin’ and Slidin'”
The Bridge Trio – “Burnin'”
Donald Harrison, Jr. – “Free Style”
Donald Harrison, Jr. – “Nuevo Swing” (recorded live at Basin St Station for New Orleans Calling)
Donald Harrison, Jr. – “Keep the Faith” (music bed)
NEW ORLEANS CALLING is a production of WWOZ, listener-supported community radio in the Crescent City.
George Ingmire is the host, writer, editor, interviewer, audio engineer, intrepid field recorder, and co-producer.
Dave Ankers is the producer.
Melanie Merz is the supervising producer.
National distribution managed by Lily Wasserman.
Web support by David Stafford.
Executive Producer is WWOZ’s General Manager David Freedman.
Live From Basin St Station segment is produced in partnership with Valentino Hospitality Enterprises.
Special thanks to Michael, Bubby, and Jay Valentino, Laura Tennyson, Kim and Kelly from Clandestine Nola, and WWOZ’s Dwayne Breashears.
Live recording of Donald Harrison Jr, Max Moran, Joe Dyson, Shea Pierre, and Detroit Brooks produced by Damond Jacob.
And thanks to:
Sally Young and Melanie Merz for their voice talents.
New Orleans Calling volunteers Catey Boyle, Doug Marshall, and Helen Kyriakoudis.
Photos of Donald Harrison in 2015, by Henry York..