Donald Harrison & Quantum Leap
Jazz Showcase, 806 S Plymouth Ct, Chicago, IL
DONALD HARRISON & QUANTUM LEAP COME TO CHICAGOCD release concerts at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase November 15th - 18th The show that's been been bringing audiences to their feet from New York to Tokyo is coming to Chicago's Jazz Showcase from November 15th through the 18th: Donald Harrison describes his new recording, "Quantum Leap" as "the crossroads where jazz tradition meets soul, science and today's dance music. It's jazz for mind, body and soul: I call it roots to infinity." The album was launched in September during Harrison's headlining appearances at The Detroit Jazz Festival, The Lake George Jazz Festival and five nights at New York's Jazz Standard. A two week tour of Japan followed in October. A four night run at Chicago's Jazz Showcase is the next stop for the genre-bending project, starting on November 15th. Donald Harrison is a musical category unto himself Born in New Orleans in 1960, Donald Harrison grew up in an environment saturated with the city's traditional brass bands, parades and rituals. His involvement with New Orleans roots culture was deepened by his father, a Big Chief in the Afro-New Orleans cultural societies. Harrison studied at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and from there began working with Roy Haynes. A year later he was chosen to join Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He went on to perform and collaborate with distinguished artists in jazz, R & B, funk and classical music: Miles Davis, Lena Horne, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, Eddie Palmieri, Jennifer Holiday, Dr. John, Guru's Jazzmatazz, Digable Planets, Notorious BIG, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Throughout his career, Harrison has balanced being in the vanguard of modern jazz with participation and leadership in Afro -New Orleans culture; he brought the two worlds together with his 1993 groundbreaking recording "Indian Blues" which combined the chants and rhythms of Afro-New Orleans culture and contemporary jazz. Now, as Big Chief of the Congo Square Nation, as well as in internationally-acclaimed jazz artist, Donald Harrison and "Indian Blues" have been a major component in the New Orleans-based HBO hit series, "Treme" - for which he is a music consultant and also appears as himself in nine episodes that are based on events in his own life "Quantum Leap" is generating buzz from some of the most cutting-edge artists in jazz: Jack Walrath, Grammy-nominated trumpeter, composer, bandleader (and longtime Mingus band member) writes in the album's liner notes that "Quantum Leap" is "an intertwined journey inward to the roots of jazz and outward to its furthest frontiers. This jazz as it was envisioned to be: bluesy, original and forward-looking...always swinging and constantly surprising." Walrath goes on to acknowledge Donald Harrison as "one of the most significant voices of the 'Young Lions' of jazz". Critic Ernest Barteldes exclaimed: "on his seventeenth album as a leader, New Orleans-born saxophonist Donald Harrison has transcended genres or musical styles." Grammy-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch extolls Harrison for "blazing a new trail" and creating music of "real innovation grounded in the swing and the personal vision of one of the music's true masters." Harrison's gifted ensemble follows him over the edge, and back: His quartet - all but one of whom are from New Orleans - represent the continuing connection of New Orleans music to the jazz tradition. Drummer Joe Dyson and bassist Max Moran are both former students of Harrison. Dyson - who contributed a hauntingly beautiful composition to Quantum Leap - began playing drums in a family band in church before he attended kindergarten. He has received numerous scholarships, including a Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music, and has played and recorded with greats Alvin Batiste, Herlin Riley and Chico Hamilton. The bassist in the group, Max Moran apprenticed with legendary clarinetist and pioneer jazz educator Alvin Batiste while still a teen. Zaccai Curtis, the pianist of the group, is also from a musical family. A graduate of New England Conservatory Zaccai now lives in New York. He is a winner of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer's competition. A living link to jazz history: Harrison says of his approach to music: "I use Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and even Louis Armstrong as my role models. They learned from the masters before them, and extending that. I think it’s important to know as much as you can before trying to extend the tradition. I want the whole spectrum of the music in what I present, from ancient music to what started here in my New Orleans to the most modern ideas of all styles of music." In the course of Harrison's career, he has discovered and nurtured some of the finest young jazz musicians - his protégés include trumpeter Christian Scott, Mark Whitfield, Dwayne Burno, Christian McBride and Cyrus Chestnut, as well as rap icon The Notorious BIG. As a spokesperson for jazz and for New Orleans culture, Donald Harrison is committed to sharing his deep knowledge of jazz with the communities in which he works; he is especially encouraging to young people - he has run jazz camps, and is now the artistic director of the jazz and modern music program at the Tipitina's Foundation in New Orleans. Info: Jazz Showcase 806 S Plymouth Ct, the Dearborn Station building, Chicago (312) 360-0234 Alto saxophonist/composer Donald Harrison combines the power of his New Orleans heritage with his formidable experience in modern jazz to redefine musical boundries.