Max Harris (composer)

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Max Harris (15 September 1918 – 13 March 2004)[1] was a British film and television composer and arranger. He played the piano and piano accordion.[2]

Born in Bournemouth, Hampshire, England,[1] into a Jewish family, his father was a tailor from Poland, and his mother had emigrated from Latvia.[3] Harris was raised in London. He originally embarked on a career in dance bands and as a jazz musician,[4] before his war service, becoming a captain in the Royal Army Service Corps.[2] Post-war, Harris worked aboard the Mauretania on six cruises, and in groups led by clarinettist Carl Barriteau and drummer Jack Parnell.[2] An arranger for visiting Americans such as Frank Sinatra, he wrote jingles for commercials in the later 1950s. His theme music for the Anthony Newley series The Strange World of Gurney Slade (1960)[4] reached number 11 in the UK Singles Chart,[5] and still resurfaces in fresh contexts. Harris also provided the theme music for the BBC 1 science-fiction series Doomwatch (1970-72).[6]

Harris contributed the themes for several series featuring Ronnie Barker, such as Porridge,[1] and worked on the Dennis Potter serial The Singing Detective (1986), which included arranging and performing its accordion-based main theme. He was also music director on several jazz albums issued during the 1970s which partnered violinists Stephane Grappelli and Yehudi Menuhin.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed 22 May 2012
  2. ^ a b c John Chilton Who's Who of British Jazz, London: Continuum, 2004, p.165
  3. ^ a b "In Memory of Max Harris", Jazz Professional
  4. ^ a b Spencer Leigh Obituary: Max Harris, The Independent, 25 March 2004
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 244. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ "Doomwatch stock music used on the original BBC TV series". doomwatchblogger.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 

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