Jesse Harris

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Jesse Harris
Jesse Harris 1.jpg
Background information
Born (1969-10-24) October 24, 1969 (age 51)
New York City
GenresPop, folk, jazz
LabelsDangerbird, Downtown, Tzadik
Associated actsNorah Jones

Jesse Harris (born October 24, 1969) is an American singer-songwriter, producer, and guitarist.[1] He has worked with Norah Jones, Melody Gardot, Madeleine Peyroux, Nikki Yanofsky, and Lizz Wright.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Harris was born in New York City,[1] along with his twin sister.[3] He attended Riverdale Country School in New York City. He graduated from Cornell University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.[4][5]


Jesse Harris's music has been described as a "blend [of] folk, rock, jazz, and world rhythms."[6]

Harris gave guitar lessons and performed in musical groups before he formed the duo Once Blue with singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin.[1] This was the first group he was in and his first experience writing for another singer. Once Blue released its self-titled debut on EMI Records in 1995 and nine additional songs were included in the album's re-release in 2003.[1]

Harris signed as a songwriter with Sony Publishing in 1998 and then made three self-released recordings with his new band, The Ferdinandos, consisting of Harris, Tony Scherr, Tim Luntzel, and Kenny Wollesen.[7] The band released two more albums on Verve Records. Harris recorded three solo albums Mineral, Feel, and Watching the Sky on his own label, Secret Sun Recordings.[1][2]

In 2003, he was awarded a Grammy Award for Song of the Year for "Don't Know Why", performed by Norah Jones. Jones's album, Come Away With Me, includes five of Harris' compositions: "Don't Know Why," "Shoot the Moon," "One Flight Down," "I've Got To See You Again," and "The Long Day is Over." Harris plays guitar throughout the whole album. Jones and Harris have collaborated numerous times since then. Jones has been a guest on many of his albums and he appears as guitarist on almost all of her albums. Harris contributed songwriting to Jones' 2008 release The Fall.

Harris appears as a guitarist on Bright Eyes' 2005 album, "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning," as well as "Motion Sickness."

In 2007, Harris contributed songs to the soundtrack of the film The Hottest State, written and directed by Ethan Hawke.[8][9] The soundtrack featured new versions of his songs by Jones, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Feist, Cat Power, M. Ward, The Black Keys, Bright Eyes, Brad Mehldau and Rosario Ortega.[8] He also acted in the film.

In August 2010 Harris released his album Through the Night and recorded a new version of his song "The Secret Sun" for a Corona (beer) commercial.[10][11]

Harris's 11th album, Sub Rosa, recorded in Rio de Janeiro, was released in July 2012[12] and features guest vocals from Conor Oberst, Melody Gardot, and Norah Jones.[13] Harris's 12th album, the stripped down Borne Away, was released on June 25, 2013.

In 2013, Harris joined John Zorn's, The Song Project, along with Mike Patton, Sofia Rei, and Sean Lennon, writing lyrics for various Zorn compositions and singing them at festivals worldwide with a band featuring Marc Ribot on guitar, John Medeski on keyboards, and Zorn conducting. Two of the group's albums have been released by Tzadik Records.

Harris and Jones appear together in the 2014 David Wain/Michael Showalter film, They Came Together, performing his song, "It Was The Last Thing On Your Mind," which Harris produced. In 2016 he appeared in Showalter's film "Hello, My Name Is Doris," performing his song, "Anything Was Possible."

Recently, Zorn and Harris have begun a new project, Songs For Petra, which features Petra Haden and The Julian Lage Trio (for whom Harris has produced two albums, Arclight and Modern Lore), plus Harris on guitar.

Other artists who have recorded Jesse's songs include Smokey Robinson, George Benson, Pat Metheny, Kandace Springs, and Solomon Burke. Songwriting collaborations have included Madeleine Peyroux, Melody Gardot, Lana Del Rey, Maria Gadu, and Vinicius Cantuaria.

Production credits include albums for Forro in the Dark, Sasha Dobson, and Petra Haden. Haden recorded an album of Harris' songs entitled "Seemed Like A Good Idea – Petra Haden Sings Jesse Harris" (Sunnyside).

In 2017, Jesse started Cosmo, a group for only his instrumental compositions, with CJ Camerieri (trumpet/flugelhorn/french horn), Will Graefe (guitar), Jeremy Gustin (drums), Benjamin Lazar Davis (bass), Michael Boshcen (trombone), and Harris (guitar). They are currently working on an album with producer Jason Lader.

Harris's album Aquarelle was recorded in Lisbon, Portugal, and released in September 2018, and features Gustin and Graefe, Ricardo Dias Gomes (bass, keyboards), Petra Haden, Valerie June, Sophia Brous, Thomas Bartlett, Rob Moose, Jesse Carmichael, Marcelo Camelo, and Jason Lader.


As leader[edit]

  • Once Blue (EMI, 1995)
  • Jesse Harris and the Ferdinandos (Bean, 1999)
  • Crooked Lines (Bean, 2001)
  • Without You (Bean, 2002)
  • The Secret Sun (Verve, 2003)
  • While the Music Lasts (Verve, 2004)
  • Mineral (Secret Sun, 2005)
  • Feel (Velour, 2007)
  • Watching the Sky (Mercer Street, 2009)
  • Through the Night (Mercer Street/Secret Sun, 2010)
  • Cosmo (Tzadik, 2010)
  • Sub Rosa (Dangerbird, 2012)
  • Borne Away (Secret Sun, 2013)
  • No Wrong No Right (Dangerbird, 2015)
  • Music for Chameleons (Sunnyside, 2017)
  • Aquarelle (Secret Sun, 2018)

As sideman[edit]


  • Dragon Tales – TV show – opening theme song (1998); guitarist, songwriter
  • Arrivals – stage play – Bank Street Theatre (2007); incidental music composer
  • The Hottest State – film – Think Films (2007); guitarist, songwriter, score composer, actor
  • Verano Maldito – film – Luis Ortega Film (Argentina, 2011); songwriter, singer, actor
  • They Came Together – film – Lionsgate Films (2014); guitarist, songwriter, producer, actor
  • Hello, My Name Is Doris – film – Roadside Attractions (2016); guitarist, songwriter, actor


  1. ^ a b c d e Jesse Harris biography. –
  2. ^ a b Discography,, retrieved March 29, 2013
  3. ^ "Marie Masters". Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  4. ^ Weiss, Rebecca (November 7, 2007). "The Cornell Connection: Jesse Harris '92 Grammy-Winner succeeds in life despite (or because of?) low GPA". The Cornell Daily Sun. Archived from the original on March 22, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  5. ^ "Notable Cornell University Alumni: Music". Cornell University. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  6. ^ Gorce, Tammy La (July 1, 2007). "Feel – Jesse Harris : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  7. ^ Johnson, Zac. "Jesse Harris – Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Soundtrack, Original. "'The Hottest State' Gets an All-Star Soundtrack". NPR. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  9. ^ Farber, Jim (August 5, 2007). "'State' of the art". Daily News. New York. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  10. ^ [1] Archived September 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Biography,, retrieved March 29, 2013
  12. ^ "Dangerbird Records store: Jesse Harris, Sub Rosa". Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2013.
  13. ^ Chris Rutledge (June 14, 2012). "Watch Two New Trailers For Jesse Harris' Sub Rosa". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on June 17, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2012.

External links[edit]