Why Barry Harris Matters

July 11, 2019

Not just because he blazed on so many records with some of the greatest musicians in Jazz music, not just because he’s a master of theory; Barry Harris matters today largely because his commitment to dispensing information and wisdom is unwavering. Mr. Harris at his apex was one of the most consistent, disciplined, and dedicated players ever. There has never been a time in his professional career when there was even a whiff of him doing this for anything but the sheer love of Jazz music.

It takes singularity of mind and spirit to be almost 90-years-old and STILL be committed to one’s principles. It also takes gallons of resolve to have been on the scene this long without being swayed by the lure of anything but the opportunity to swing. Although I tend to find his basic doctrine to be somewhat capsular, what’s in there is potent.

Barry Harris is an anomaly because he’s not in the least bit interested in critics’ polls, reviews, record deals, awards, endorsements, acceptance, or any of the shit that accompanies the distraction of careerism. His is not only a legacy of musical mastery, it’s a legacy of musical integrity.

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