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
Tickets on sale now!
By phone: 650.725.ARTS (2787); In Person: Stanford
For more information, go to our Ticketing
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
Q&A with Frederick
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
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
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
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?
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
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.