Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Leahey, Harry

Leahey, Harry, guitar; b. Plattsburg, NY, 1 September 1935, died 12 August 1990. Harry started playing guitar in 1949 at the age of 13. When he was thirteen years old his mother and father placed a guitar in his hands and said "Play." His uncle Al was a guitarist and Harry wanted to play like him. He barely made it through high school because of all the time he spent on the instrument. Some of his heroes on guitar go back to Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. They also include Tal Farlow, Jim Hall, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery. He studied with such guitar notables as Johnny Smith and Dennis Sandole. He also studied theory and harmony at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

Harry worked with numerous jazz groups including Ira Sullivan, Eric Kloss, Gerry Mulligan, Jack Six, Mike Melillo's "In Free Association," Al Cohn, and his own trio which appeared locally in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.

Along with his playing, Harry built a flourishing teaching practice at his home. He is the most recent addition to Phil's group, joining in August 1976. He went through a really rough period starting in 1985. A series of tragic events occurred including a heart attack, the death of his wife, and the diagnosis of his own cancer in the spring of 1988. When discovered, it was already in the fourth stage and did not seem to bode well for his future. Harry Leahey died on August 12, 1990.

Still Waters (1980); Harry Leahey and Steve Gilmore: Silver Strings (1981); Harry Leahey: Unaccompanied Guitar (1989);
As sideperson:
Don Sebesky: Giant Box (1973); Phil Woods Six: Live From The Showboat (1977); Phil Woods Quartet/Quintet: 20th Anniversary Set (1977); Phil Woods Quintet: Song For Sisyphus (1978); Michel Legrand: Le Jazz Grand (1978); Mark Murphy: Living Room (1984); James L. Dean: Ceora (1992)

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