Donald Harrison

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Donald Harrison
Donald Harrison, Jr..jpg
Donald Harrison Jr. at the New Orleans Jazz Fest 2007
Background information
Born (1960-06-23) 23 June 1960 (age 58)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
GenresJazz, jazz funk
Years active1980s–present
LabelsConcord, Columbia, Candid, Impulse!, Nagel Heyer
Associated actsThe Cookers

Donald Harrison Jr. (born June 23, 1960) is a jazz saxophonist from New Orleans, Louisiana.


Harrison was a student of Ellis Marsalis at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. He studied at the Berklee College of Music. As a professional musician he worked with Roy Haynes and Jack McDuff before joining Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers with Terence Blanchard, filling positions that had been vacated by Branford Marsalis and Wynton Marsalis. Harrison and Blanchard left Blakey and recorded albums in a quintet until 1989. Two years later Harrison released a tribute album to Blakey. This was followed by an album that reached into Harrison's New Orleans heritage with guest appearances by Dr. John and Cyrus Chestnut and chants by the Guardians of the Flame Mardi Gras Indians. He devoted half the album Nouveu Swing (1997) to jazz and half to Caribbean-influenced music. On the next album his experiments continued by borrowing from hip hop, Latin music, R&B, and smooth jazz.[1][2]

His albums, 3D Vols. I, II, and III, present him in three different musical genres. On Vol. I he writes, plays, and produces smooth jazz and R&B style. On Vol. II he writes, produces and plays in the classic jazz style. On Vol. III he writes plays and produces hip hop.

His group, Donald Harrison Electric Band, has recorded popular radio hits and has charted in the top ten of Billboard magazine. He performs as a producer, singer, and rapper in traditional New Orleans jazz and hip hop genres with his group, The New Sounds of Mardi Gras. The group, which has recorded two albums, was started in 2001 and has made appearances worldwide. Harrison is the Big Chief of the Congo Nation Afro-New Orleans Cultural Group, which keeps alive the secret traditions of Congo Square.

In 2016 Harrison recorded his first orchestral work with The Moscow Symphony Orchestra. He followed up the piece for the MSO by writing classical orchestral works for the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, The New York Chamber Orchestra, and The Jalapa Symphony Orchestra in 2017.

Harrison has nurtured a number of young musicians including trumpeter Christian Scott (Harrison's nephew), Mark Whitfield, Christian McBride, and The Notorious B.I.G.[3] Harrison was in Spike Lee's HBO documentary When the Levees Broke and has appeared as himself in eleven episodes of the television series Treme.[4]

Harrison was chosen Person of the Year by Jazziz magazine in January 2007.


As leader[edit]

  • 1990: Full Circle (Sweet Basil)
  • 1991: For Art's Sake (Candid)
  • 1992: Indian Blues (Candid) with Dr. John
  • 1994: The Power of Cool (CTI)
  • 1997: Nouveau Swing (Impulse!)
  • 1999: Free to Be (Impulse!)
  • 2000: Spirits of Congo Square (Candid)
  • 2001: Real Life Stories (Nagel Heyer)
  • 2002: Kind of New (Candid)
  • 2003: Paradise Found (Fomp)
  • 2004: Heroes (Nagel Heyer)
  • 2004: Free Style (Nagel Heyer)
  • 2005: New York Cool: Live at The Blue Note (Half Note)
  • 2005: 3D
  • 2006: The Survivor (Nagel Heyer)
  • 2008: The Chosen (Nagel Heyer)
  • 2011: This Is Jazz: Live at The Blue Note (Half Note)[5]

As co-leader with Terence Blanchard

  • 1983: New York Second Line (Concord)
  • 1984: Discernment (Concord)
  • 1986: Nascence (Columbia)
  • 1986: Eric Dolphy & Booker Little Remembered Live at Sweet Basil, Vol. 1 (Evidence)
  • 1986: Fire Waltz: Eric Dolphy & Booker Little Remembered Live At Sweet Basil, Vol. 2 (Evidence)
  • 1987: Crystal Stair (Columbia)
  • 1988: Black Pearl (Columbia)

As sideman[edit]

With Art Blakey

With Joanne Brackeen

With The Headhunters

With the Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project

With Eddie Palmieri

With Don Pullen

With Lonnie Smith

With Esperanza Spalding

With Jane Monheit

On DVD[edit]


  1. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Donald Harrison". AllMusic. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  2. ^ Ratliff, Ben (6 March 1999). "A Fusion With Funk, Thoroughly Mixed". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Biggie Smalls: The Voice That Influenced A Generation". NPR. 2010-08-02. Retrieved 2010-08-18.
  4. ^ "Donald Harrison: 'A one-man jazz festival' - Donald Harrison Jr. a complex keeper of local culture". Times Picayune. 2010-04-25. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  5. ^ "Donald Harrison | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2018.

External links[edit]