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38th Season
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2009 Stanford Jazz Festival


> 2009 Festival At A Glance
June 26   James Moody Quartet featuring Benny Green
June 27   Early Bird featuring Crosspulse Duo/Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble
June 27   Gonzalo Rubalcaba
June 28   Dafnis Prieto Si o Si Quartet
July 3   Bobbe Norris with the Larry Dunlap Trio
July 5   Songs of Sinatra: An American Celebration
July 10   Wycliffe Gordon Quartet
July 11   Early Bird Jazz: Woodwinds & Strings
July 11   Regina Carter Quintet
July 12   Everything You Wanted to Know About Jazz (But Were Afraid to Ask)
July 12   Wesla Whitfield & the Mike Greensill Trio
July 17   Brazilian Guitarist Paulo Bellinati with special guests Carlos Oliveira & Harvey Wainapel
July 18   The Donald Harrison 3D Experience
July 19   Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet
July 20   Blastin’ Barriers with Frederick Harris & Friends
July 21   Julian Lage Group
July 22   Ruth Davies Blues Night with Elvin Bishop
July 23   Simply Standards with Melecio Magdaluyo
July 25   Matt Wilson’s Sonic Garden featuring Julian Lage
July 26   Taylor Eigsti & Free Agency
July 27   Horace-Scope with Jaz Sawyer
July 28   Jeb Patton Trio featuring Albert “Tootie” Heath
July 29   1959 Revisited
July 30   SJW Mentors with Matt Wilson
Aug 1   Madeline Eastman featuring Terell Stafford
Aug 2   The Heath Brothers
Aug 3   Generations Jazz Project
Aug 4   Stan@Stanford: Remembering Stan Getz
Aug 5   Mulgrew Miller Trio
Aug 7   SJW All-Star Jam Session
Aug 8   Dena DeRose Quartet featuring Steve Davis

Blastin’ Barriers with Frederick Harris & Friends
Jonathan Bautista, tenor saxophone; Franzo King Jr., tenor saxophone; Marina King, vocals; Frederick Harris, piano; Charles Thomas, bass; Curt Moore, drums

Monday, July 20, 7:30 pm
Campbell Recital Hall
Tickets: $20 general | $10 students

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By phone: 650.725.ARTS (2787); In Person: Stanford Ticket Office
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Listen:

Pianist Frederick Harris, a Stanford Jazz Workshop alumnus and long-time faculty member, presents an evening of music in trio, quartet, and quintet formats. Not only has Harris accompanied jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden, and Eddie Henderson—he’s also an accomplished concert pianist in the classical tradition. The first set of Harris’s program illustrates the intimate relationship between jazz and classical forms with piano trio interpretations of music by Cole Porter, Dexter Gordon, and Oscar Peterson. Accompanied by bassist Charles Thomas and drummer Curt Moore, Harris expresses his unique insights into the common ground these two traditions share through music that blasts through barriers of genre and convention. The second half celebrates the life and music of a man whose art transcends genre or categorization: John Coltrane. Harris will explore the music of ‘Trane’s “middle” period, joined by special guests saxophonist Jonathan Bautista and, from San Francisco’s St. John Will-I-Am Coltrane Church, saxophonist (and fellow SJW alum) Franzo King, Jr. and vocalist The Most Reverend Mother Marina King.


 Q&A with Frederick Harris
 

What is the first recording you remember hearing as a child?
"What's Going On", by Marvin Gaye. I discovered harmony with this very haunting song. I also discovered the importance of arranging through this song, and how design of musical "background" shapes musical "foreground". Of course, at four years old, I didn't know these things in specific language. Nonetheless, these elements are what would have me transfixed, literally, as I stared at the TV screen showing still shots of Bay Area street scenes, while waiting for Romper Room to start on Channel 2 every morning, before school.

Who is your favorite jazz musician under the age of 30?
My daughter. I love watching her growth—the ebb and flow of it, and remembering my own stages of my youth and how some aspects of the process don't change. I'm reminded of a quote by Andre Watts, recounting a statement someone made to him when hearing him later in life: "You don't play any differently than you did as a kid. You play better, but not any differently." Hopefully, if one "gets it", they never lose it as they travel the many years of study on the way to adult musicianship.

What job would you have if you weren’t a jazz musician?
Hmmm. Well, whilst being a musician, I went to school, got my A license, and drove trucks for the San Francisco Chronicle for two years. Par-for-the-course for me, as I love driving. I'm now really into getting my motorcycle endorsement, which will make me legal to drive anything on the road, officially. That's a fun thought for me...though, I guess I'll have to then figure out how to drive everything all at once!

What’s the strangest experience you’ve ever had on the bandstand?
(chuckling)....Well, I guess this would be in the coffers of the various stages I've shared with Chico Freeman, my dear friend and 'Dad', as I call him sometimes. We were at the legendary Ronnie Scotts in London (in itself, an experience completely blowing me away, as it was my first time there), and after a couple tunes, a woman calls out to Chico while he's on the mic and she says, "Can I come up and kiss the piano player?" Chico didn't even bother to check with me first, and just said "...Yeah, ok." The house was crackin' up, and I was at the piano feeling like a roach with the light just turned on. I was floored. This very attractive female bumped up from stage left and laid one on me.

What’s your favorite food?
Though it fluctuates, a part of the core that doesn't change is barbecue.     
          
What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled to as a musician?
Ocho Rios, Jamaica. And what was cool about it was my career took me 'home', as my mother was Jamaican and I'd never been there, so I got to meet the whole other half of myself. Life-changing experience.

What’s the last book you’ve read?
Piano - The Making Of A Steinway Concert Grand by James Barron. He's a writer for the New York Times, and this book is the sum of a series of articles he did on the Steinway family and the piano. Fascinating read, like a novel, not a trade book. The main character is a particular piano, and the story of its manufacturing from beginning to end a year later. Along the way, we hear about the family's history, artists from a broad musical spectrum, and the workers, a lot of who don't play or know anything about music...very cool book.

If you could play with any other musician, living or dead (with whom you have not played), who would it be and why?
Yo-Yo Ma. I had the pleasure of being in a duo that got a slot in his master class at Eastman when I was a student there. I would love to play with him because I think I'm finally coming into my own regarding the freedom in playing publicly, while retaining the intimacy, the safety, of the practice room. It's very difficult. Yo-Yo Ma has always been a hero of mine in this regard. Some musicians play their “machines” really well. Musicians like Ma ARE the music to me, and when we get to perceive them expressing, it's a snippet of time that's ongoing for them I think. They seem to just be there, all the time. Coltrane also comes to mind. It just happens that somewhere on the globe, at 8 p.m., the particular ticket-buyers present have the benefit of witnessing art in action, in motion, at that given time. But, for an artist like Ma (or 'Trane), it's been happening already 'cause it never stops. They never break from that energy, even while sleeping. That level of connection...wow!

What’s your favorite tune?
“The Little One” ('Maiden Voyage' album version).

What’s your favorite thing about being a Stanford Jazz Workshop faculty member?
What it symbolizes of my own evolution, personally and professionally. My genesis with SJW is as a student. 22 years later, here I am as an artist and faculty member. 15 years ago, that professional relationship began, thanks to the endorsement of Madeline Eastman. That first year, about a third of the faculty had been 'teachers' of mine to some degree, at some point in time. Now, 15 later, to be treated by those same cats as 'one of them' still trips me out. To be 'chummy' with Tootie Heath is really something.

What’s your favorite jazz venue?
New Morning in Paris.

Who is your greatest musical influence?
Artur Rubinstein

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have three recordings with you, what would they be?
Takin' Off, by Herbie Hancock; Berman/Ormandy recording of Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto; The Messenger by Kurt Elling

How much do you practice each week?
Ha-ha-ha...practice? what's that?! Not nearly enough...

If you could be any other type of artist other than a jazz musician, what would you be and why?
Maybe a sculptor. I love Rodin, and how tactile his sculpture is (Stanford currently has an exhibit here of Rodin scultpures, btw). Maybe I'd like to try that.

When did you become interested in music, and what circumstances or events led to your becoming a professional musician?
From as early as I can remember. I saw video of Artur Rubinstein playing the Coda to the G minor Ballade of Chopin, when I was four or so. The two things, well, three things, that struck me were the sound (though I hadn't seen and heard the piano do that before, I had heard stride piano, and I noticed the similarity in the writing); the picture being reversed (I got a kick outta trying to figure out why his right hand was 'striding', and his left hand was playing the figuration of the treble clef, and I'd never seen a piano whose lid opened from right to left); and the discovery of just how incredible an instrument the piano is, and if I could learn to play it like that...well, guess what...

If you were to describe your music as a color, what color would it be and why?
That's a tough one to answer, as I spend most of my time playing the music of others, as opposed to my own. However, to myself, the act of playing any of the music I do would probably be red. Red is a color of immediate action, to me. Getting back to what I said about artists like Yo-Yo Ma, I don't think people buy a ticket to a concert just for notions of "high art'', and trying to be hip. They also want to feel, and see, some action. Genuine action, not contrived. I feel that's red, and I feel that it's an artistic responsibility, among others, to get free enough to become the music and "go there". The liberation of spirit in the listener is, to me, paramount, otherwise, what's the point in a concert. That liberation is ushered by that of my own spirit. All of my own personal and pianistic issues must become secondary, at best, for the music to come alive and transcendent, and not just an exercise of pretty piano music or prowess. Striving for that is a red process indeed.