Wendell Harrison

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Wendell Harrison
Wendell Harrison.jpg
Photo by Patricia Harrison
Background information
Born (1942-10-01) 1 October 1942 (age 74)
Detroit, Michigan United States
Genres Jazz, R&B, Avant-garde jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producert
Instruments Clarinet, tenor saxophone
Labels Tribe, Rebirth, WenHa, Enja
Associated acts Mama’s Licking Stick Clarinet Ensemble

Wendell Harrison (born October 1, 1942 in Detroit, Michigan)[1] is an American jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist.


Harrison began playing clarinet at age seven, and switched to tenor saxophone in high school. He studied under Barry Harris before moving to New York City in 1960. There he played with Jack McDuff, Elvin Jones, Sonny Stitt, Grant Green, Hank Crawford, and Sun Ra in the 1960s. In 1970 he moved back to Detroit and has remained a mainstay of the music scene there for over forty years.

In addition to albums as a leader, Harrison has worked as a session musician, and has a long list of famous artists with whom he has recorded. Early collaborations included recordings and concerts with premier jazz, R&B, soul, and Motown musicians, including Aretha Franklin, Sun Ra, and Marvin Gaye.[1]

Harrison co-founded the Tribe record label and collective with Phil Ranelin in the 1970s. In the 1980s, he initiated the construction of a non profit "jazz performance and education organization"; Rebirth Inc.[1] Two related record labels; Rebirth Records, and Wen-Ha Records are the product of Rebirth, Inc.[1] He has worked as an educator, and played with Leon Thomas, Marcus Belgrave, Dennis Rowland, Kirk Lightsey, Roy Brooks, Charles Tolliver, and James Carter, among many other famous jazz musicians. Also, Harrison has collaborated with performers outside the jazz realm, such as techno artist Carl Craig, rapper Proof, R&B artist Amp Fiddler, and world music performer Sean Blackman.


Albums as Leader:

  • An Evening with the Devil (Tribe Records, 1972)
  • A Message From the Tribe with Phil Ranelin (Tribe, 1973)
  • Dreams of a Love Supreme (Rebirth Records, 1979)
  • Organic Dream (Rebirth, 1981)
  • Birth of a Fossil (Rebirth, 1985)
  • Reawakening (Rebirth, 1985)
  • Wait Broke the Wagon Down (Rebirth, 1987)
  • The Carnivorous Lady (Rebirth, 1988)
  • Fly by Night (WenHa, 1990)
  • Forever Duke (Wen-Ha, 1991)
  • Live in Concert (WenHa, 1992)
  • Something For Pops with Harold McKinney (Wenha, 1993)
  • Rush & Hustle (WenHa/Enja, 1994)
  • The Battle of the Tenors (WenHa/Enja, 1998)
  • Eighth House: Riding with Pluto (Entropy Records, 2002)
  • Urban Expressions (WenHa, 2004)
  • It's About Damn Time (Rebirth, 2011)[2]

Appears on:

  • Hank Crawford - Dig These Blues (Atlantic, 1965)
  • Hank Crawford - After Hours (Atlantic, 1966)
  • Hank Crawford - Mr. Blues (Atlantic, 1967)
  • Hank Crawford - Double Cross (Atlantic, 1967)
  • Greg Dykes - The Prince Of Peace, 1968
  • Phil Ranelin - The Time is Now!, 1973
  • Harold McKinney - Voices and Rhythms of the Creative Profile, 1974
  • Marcus Belgrave - Gemini II, 1974
  • Phil Ranelin - Vibes From the Tribe, 1976
  • William Odell Huges - Crusing, 1982
  • Michigan Jazz Masters - Urban Griots, 1998
  • Telefon Tel Aviv - Map of What Is Effortless, 2004
  • Phil Ranelin - Inspiration, 2004
  • Slicker - We All Have a Plan, 2004
  • Proof - Grown Man Shit, 2005
  • Proof - Searching for Jerry Garcia, 2005
  • John Arnold - Style and Pattern, 2005
  • Amp Fiddler - Afro Strut, 2007
  • Carl Craig - Paris Live, 2007
  • Tribe - Rebirth, 2009
  • Sean Blackman - In Transit, 2009
  • Will Sessions - Kindred, 2010


  1. ^ a b c d Rebirth, Inc. (2010). "Wen-ha Rebirth Jazz". Co-operative Record Label information. Rebirth, Inc. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  2. ^ www.margitproductions.com

External links[edit]