Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Harris, Jerome (Estese)

Harris, Jerome (Estese), bass, guitar; b. Memorial Hospital of Queens, Flushing, NY, 5 April 1953. His family moved from Queens to Brooklyn in 1954 or 1955; he grew up in the Cypress Hills housing project in East New York--305 Fountain Avenue, apt. 3C, Brooklyn NY 11208. His father is Guy (Lester) Harris, b. May 29, 1926, at home, in or near Chocowinity, North Carolina (on Clark's Neck Rd., in either Pitt or Beaufort. His mother is Pearl (Elizabeth) Fleming, b. January 10, 1926, at home, in Washington, North Carolina. Neither parent was a musician, although both enjoyed listening to music (rhythm & blues, gospel; Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Dakota Staton). His brother is Eric (Earl) Harris, b. February 7, 1960, Brooklyn, NY. He's not a musician, despite playing double bass for a while in public school.

Before college (public school K-12th grade), I sang in glee club and played violin (poorly); I even took accordion lessons for one year. I was self-taught on guitar and bass guitar until my senior year of Harvard College, when I took some private lessons before applying to music schools. While at Harvard I took music theory and history classes available to non-majors (teachers: Elliot Forbes, Hubert Walters), and audited an introductory theory class for music majors taught by Luise Vosgerchian. Informal work with fellow students Ken Sullivan and Bill Washburn taught me many practical fundamentals.

He was a Research Assistant to Dennis L. Krebs (Asst. Professor of Sociology at Harvard), 1971-72. He graduated from Harvard University, Bachelor of Arts, 1973 (Psychology and Social Relations). He graduated from the New England Conservatory of Music, Bachelor of Music with Honors, 1977 and got a Teaching Fellow, Dept. of Afro-American Music, also in 1977. At New England Conservatory of Music, I studied theory with Lyle Davidson, Joseph Maneri and George Russell, guitar with Robert Paul Sullivan, Sal Salvador and Barry Galbraith, jazz performance and arranging with Jaki Byard, Carl Atkins and Phil Wilson, composition with Thomas McKinley. Ran Blake was also an inspiration. Outside of school I got important ensemble experience in groups led by Stanton Davis, Billy Thompson and Gunther Schuller. Intermittently, post-conservatory teachers in the New York area have included James Congdon (voice), Andy Wasserman (Lydian Chromatic Concept), Eddie BobZ (Afro-Cuban percussion) and Vanderlei Pereira (Brazilian percussion).

Harris's first major professional performing experience came as bass guitarist with Sonny Rollins in 1978; from 1988 to 1994 he played guitar with Rollins, and has also recorded and/or performed live on six continents with Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Ray Anderson, Bobby Previte, Oliver Lake, Don Byron, Bob Stewart, George Russell, Julius Hemphill, Amina Claudine Myers, Ned Rothenberg, Bob Moses, and many others.  His extensive international touring has included several stints in Japan with Sonny Rollins, as well as U.S. State Department tours of India and the Middle East with Jay Hoggard and of five African nations with Oliver Lake and Jump Up.

In 1999 Harris served as arranger, rhythm guitarist and assistant to musical director Vernon Reid in the celebratory "Joni's Jazz" concert in New York's Central Park, where-with Joni Mitchell herself in the house-he accompanied singers as wide-ranging as Chaka Khan, Jane Siberry, Duncan Sheik and P.M. Dawn.  Harris's diverse credits include a stint on Broadway as guitarist in the South African rhythm & blues / rock & roll musical Kat And The Kings, as well as banjoist/guitarist in the New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble under the baton of Gunther Schuller.

In addition to his work on guitar and bass guitar, Harris regularly performs as a singer; he also plays miscellaneous percussion and has done voice-over work, as well as industrial, commercial, and film-score dates for Galan Communications Group, Rick Lyon Music, and Richard Eisenstein Music. Jerome Harris's formative musical experiences included singing and playing rural and urban blues, folk and gospel music, as well as the full range of American popular music genres.

He has performed with Sonny Rollins (1978-94), Oliver Lake and Jump Up (1980-88), Amina Claudine Myers (1983-2000), Bobby Previte (1988-99), Bob Stewart First Line Band (1988-98), Ned Rothenberg (1989-2000), Ray Anderson (1993-99) and Jack DeJohnette (1996-2000). He's had residencies as a Guest Artist, Harvard University Jazz Band, April 7-8, 2000 and Guest Artist, National Guitar Workshop Jazz Summit, August 5-6, 1998.

His wife is Jezra Kaye (born 11/21/1951). She is a former jazz singer (she got her B.M. degree in Ran Blake's Third Stream department at NEC). His child (daughter) is Laurika Harris-Kaye (born 3/1/1989).

Algorithms (1986); In Passing (1989);  Hidden In Plain View (1995); Rendezvous (1998)

As sideperson:
The New England Conservatory Ragtime Ensemble: The Road From Rags To Jazz (1974-75); Stanton Davis' Ghetto/Mysticism: Brighter Days (1976); Sonny Rollins: Don't Stop The Carnival (1978); Ran Blake: Rapport (1978); Michael Gregory Jackson: Gifts (1978); Sonny Rollins: Don't Ask (1979); Michael Gregory Jackson: Heart And Center (1979); Jon Hassell/Brian Eno: Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics (1979); Oliver Lake: Prophet (1980), Jump Up (1981); Alfonia Tims And His Flying Tigers: Future Funk/Uncut! (1981); George Russell: Live In An American Time Spiral (1982); Oliver Lake And Jump Up: Plug It (1982); Pheeroan Aklaff: Fits Like A Glove (1982-83); Jay Hoggard: Love Survives (1983); Bob Moses: Visit With The Great Spirit (1983); Bill Frisell: Rambler (1984); Jay Hoggard: Riverside Dance (1985); Amina Claudine Myers: Country Girl (1986); Bob Moses: The Story Of Moses (1986); Sonny Rollins: Dancing In The Dark (1987); Amina Claudine Myers: Amina (1987); Harry Miller: Open House (1988); Julius Hemphill: Julius Hemphill Big Band (1988); Bob Stewart-First Line Band: Goin' Home (1988); Mark Helias: Desert Blue (1989); Amina Claudina Myers: In Touch (1989); Sonny Rollins: Falling In Love With Jazz (1989); Hank Roberts: Hank Roberts And Birds Of Prey (1990); Bobby Previte: Empty Suits (1990); Renze Manning: Uhm...Uhm...Uhmmmm! (1986, 1989); Samm Bennett & Chunk: Life Of Crime (C. 1990); Ned Rothenberg Double Band: Overlays (1991); Bobby Previte: Music Of The Moscow Circus (1991); Sonny Rollins: Here's To The People (1991); Jeanne Lee: Natural Affinities (1992); Amina Claudine Myers: Women In (E)Motion (1988-Released 1993); John Clark: Il Suono (1992); Robert Dick: Third Stone From The Sun (1993); Ned Rothenberg Double Band: Real And Imagined Time (1993); Bobby Previte's Empty Suits: Slay The Suitors (1993); Henry Threadgill: Song Out Of My Trees (1993); Ray Anderson Alligatory Band: Don't Mow Your Lawn (1994); Carol Emanuel: Tops Of Trees (1991-Released 1995); Sonny Rollins: Just Once (Bootleg Recording: Year Unknown-Released 1995); Ray Anderson Alligatory Band: Heads And Tales (1995); Manhattan Reggae Unit: Come, Spring (1995); Bob Stewart: Then & Now (1996); Manhattan Reggae Unit: Together (1996); Sonny Rollins: Silver City: A Celebration Of 25 Years On Milestone (1996); Jack Dejohnette: Oneness (1997); Bobby Previte's Latin For Travelers: My Man In Sydney (1997); Richard Hunter: The Second Act Of Free Being (1997); Ray Anderson Lapis Lazuli Band: Funkorific (1998); Bobby Previte's Latin For Travelers: Dangerous Rip (1997, 1998); Sync: Port Of Entry (1997, 1998); Pheeroan Aklaff: Global Mantras (1997); Ed Ware: Ed Ware's Tree (1999); Marty Ehrlich's Traveler's Tales: Malinke's Dance (1999); Don Byron: A Fine Line: Arias And Lieder (2000); Thurman Barker: Time Factor (2001); Alan Bates: Pan Fried (2001)

Radio and television broadcasts:
Most have been in Europe while bands have been touring (most of these were radio).

Pink Slip Outta Nowhere (Produced by The Labor Institute); A Price For Every Progress (Produced by The Labor Institute); Blacks and Jews: Working it Out (Produced by Susan Woll and Cherie Brown for American Jewish Committee); Slide: Bhopal, U.S.A. (Produced by The Labor Institute)

Sally Garcia and Family (Produced by Joyce Chopra/Education Development Center)
Clorae and Albee (Produced by Joyce Chopra/Education Development Center)

Works by Harris:
"Jazz on the Global Stage," in The African Diaspora: A Musical Perspective, ed. Ingrid Monson, (New York: Garland, 2000)
"El moesico, la moesica y su entorno social," translated by Wade Matthews, in
Revista de Occidente 151 (Madrid: Ortega y Gasset Foundation, December 1993)
Served as a primary source/interview subject in Ingrid Monson, Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation And Interaction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996)
Supplied editorial advice and intellectual criticism on Sarah C. Brett-Smith, "`Iron Skin': The Symbolism of Bamana Mud Cloth" (Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University, 1982)
Works about Harris:
"Jerome Harris" by Fred Bouchard, *Down Beat*, March 1983
"Jerome Harris: Leading A Double Life On Jazz Guitar And Bass" by Jim Roberts, *Guitar Player* Vol. 23, No. 6, June 1989
"On the move: Jerome Harris' power and grace" by Jim Macnie, *The Phoenix's Real Paper*, July 23-29, 1992

Contact information:
Website: http://www.jeromeharris.com
E-mail: jerome@jeromeharris.com
Telephone: (718) 636-0836
Fax: (718) 636-2202

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