Cornbread Harris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cornbread Harris
Cornbread Harris in 2018.jpg
Harris in 2018
Born James Samuel Harris Jr.
April 23, 1927 (1927-04-23) (age 91)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Musician
Spouse(s) Four wives
Children James Harris III
Parent(s) James Samuel Harris Sr.
Alberta Jones Nelson

James Samuel "Cornbread" Harris Sr. (born James Samuel Harris Jr.; April 23, 1927) is an American musician. He is a singer and pianist who performs in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[1] He was a performer on Minnesota's first rock 'n' roll record, and is the father of record producer Jimmy Jam.[1]

Family and early years[edit]

Harris was born James Samuel Harris Jr. on April 23, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of James Samuel Harris Sr. (1893–1930), a gambler, and his wife, Alberta Jones Nelson (1895–1930). When his father was shot while gambling and his mother died of grieving, he was orphaned at age 3. He lived with foster families until he was 11 or 12 when he and his sister went to live with his grandparents in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has been married four times. One of his daughters died. He is the father of Jimmy Jam (James Harris III) who produced records for Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey and Usher.[1]

Country music was an early influence, and Hank Williams and Gene Autry are among his early favorites.[2]

Later career[edit]

At left man in his thirties plays piano, man in the middle is in his seventies also playing piano, man at right in his twenties or thirties playing a snare drum. On the Mississippi waterfront
Cornbread Harris (center) sings "Deeper Blues" at Minneapolis downtown's National Night Out 2010 with Cadillac Kolstad and Johann Swenson

Harris helped invent Augie Garcia's "Hi Yo Silver," a 1955 song that was Minnesota's first rock 'n' roll recording. He performed on the record, which he called a one-hit wonder[1] (although Garcia is remembered as the godfather of Minnesota rock 'n' roll[3]).

Harris was in the U.S. military and later worked for about 25 years for American Hoist & Derrick.[1]

His repertoire includes blues and jazz and in his eighties, Harris still plays Minneapolis nightclubs[4] including the Loring Pasta Bar in Dinkytown, Clubhouse Jäger in the North Loop and Palmer's[5] and the Nomad World Pub on the West Bank.[6]

Harris is a mentor to Cadillac Kolstad and City Pages calls them the "must-see dueling-piano act in town".[5]



  1. ^ a b c d e Riemenschneider, Chris (April 20, 2006). "Past is present for Cornbread Harris". The Star Tribune. Retrieved August 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "August 7: Entertainment". Mill City Farmers Market. Retrieved August 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ Keller, Martin (2007). Music Legends: A Rewind on the Minnesota Music Scene. D Media. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-9787956-1-0. 
  4. ^ Keller, Martin (2007). Music Legends: A Rewind on the Minnesota Music Scene. D Media. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-9787956-1-0. 
  5. ^ a b Patrin, Nate (March 24, 2010). "Cadillac vs. Cornbread". City Pages. Village Voice. Retrieved August 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Calendar". Cornbread Harris. Retrieved August 8, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2012 Press Release". Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  8. ^ "Cornbread Harris Among Sally Award Winners | Ordway News". 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  9. ^ "Cornbread Harris Among Sally Award Winners | Ordway News". 2014-06-11. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  10. ^ "Sally Award winner James Samuel "Cornbread" Harris Sr - 22nd Annual Sally Awards". YouTube. 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  11. ^ "The Ordway Announces 2013 Sally Award Winners". Retrieved 2015-11-03. 

External links[edit]