Photo by Gerald Peart
In June of 2009 Lafayette performed again with Ms. Ernestine Anderson. This time at the Rochester Jazz Festival in Eastman NY.
Lafayette had always wanted to visit this famous Music campus.
For more info on the festival go to: Rochester Jazz Fest.
Lafayette played in Austin, TX with actress, singer Sandra Reaves-Phillips. Nov. 15 and 16, 2007
Lafayette played at the Iridium with the wonderful Roswell Rudd. They have been working together frequently as of late. Vocalist Sheila Jordan, someone Harris had never worked with, joined them on Nov. 17 and 18, 2007. It was a wonderfull experience Lafayette says.
Click here to hear the NPR Broadcast
Lafayette played at EAR INN. 326 Spring Street, NYC 212-226-9060 on Spring St. between Greenwich St. & Washington St. Tue, Sept. 25, 2007. Click here to see Shiro's website
Lafayette has had the pleasure of performing with this legend since July of 2003 when he recorded with her on LOVE MAKE THE CHANGES.
They will be at it again this September.
They've already done the Chicago Jazz Fest on Labor Day weekend, at Petrillo. and now they are in Monterey, CA.
Monterey Jazz Fest. Sept 22, 2007. Click here to see website for more info
He was en route to Chicago with his son, Elian, when he ran into an old friend - Larry Coryell!
Here, the three of them catch up!
Back in February Lafayette hit the road with the wonderful Sandra Reaves-Phillips.
She performed her one woman show: BOLD AND BRASSY For 3 day's
They also did a workshop for local students, which was well received by all including the adults.
Lafayette performed with a trio at, PUPPET'S JAZZ BAR, when it was on 5th Av & 1st St. in the heart of Park Slope. The club has since moved further south in Park Slope.
Lafayette Harris - piano, Jaime Affoumado - drums, Ameen Saleem - bass
In March Lafayette had the honor of playing at Birdland, the club owned by the late keyboardist, Joe Zawinul, in the hometown of this master musician. There he and Ms. Anderson got reacquainted for this was their first hit since the recording of Love Makes The Changes.
Back at the beginning of November Lafayette did another performance in Georgia, with Sandra Reaves-Phillips. This time it was Statesboro.
A few days later he played a gig with world-renowned trombonist and composer Roswell Rudd in Kinderhook, New York.
In October he hit the road again with Sandra and visited Athens, Ga. Harris was in Athens with The Cab Calloway Legacy Band back in 2001. While he was there he wrote a tune and named it after this lovely southern town.
He also made a long trip with one his favorite folks to play with Mr. Allan Harris. These two Harris’ have played together many times since they met 13 or so years ago. As a matter of fact they recently did another hit at the Blue Note Jazz Club in NYC. Anyway, they just returned from New Zealand after a week playing on the Queenstown Jazz Festival.
Harris was in NYC at the Sheraton with Reggie Woods. They played at the Clintons fundrasing event called Clinton Global Initiative. Here's a shot of Lafayette and President Clinton.
Harris was in Colorado Springs with Sandra Reaves Philips. Harris used to work regularly with Ms. Philips starting in 1989 and up until about 1994.
This was his first trip with her since then and what a good time it was to be back in the piano chair for such an entertaining and good-natured performer.
Lafayette's first trio recording is the result of his trip to Germany in April of 2005 playing on the Burghausen Jazz Festival. Harris knew that he wanted to record while presented with this four night engagement.
For this trip Lafayette enlisted two of the finest players in Jazz. On bass he called Dwayne Dolphin of Pittsburg, PA. Dwayne was also the bassist on “Happy Together”. For the very important role of drumming Harris enlisted one of the greatest beat-makers of his generation, Winard Harper.
In 2004 Harris made his first foray into Africa, playing for the King of Morocco's New Year’s Eve bash. He performed with Soul Street, the popular band lead by his friend Reggie Woods for which Lafayette is the musical director.
In December Lafayette led a very ambitious recording and photography session for the Japanese company Hitachi. That session featured him playing with a trio and a quintet.
Even though they were performing to the best of their abilities the quintet wasn’t recorded but was photographed for magazines.
The trio however was recorded and videotaped for a TV commercial advertising Hitachi’s new computer software "Open Middleware".
This was Lafayette’s second Japanese commercial. On the first he arranged the music and lead the band for a milk drink commercial.
During this period Harris completed 2 new CD’s.
First was his foray into funk and contemporary music entitled IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.
The second is his first trio recording since “Happy Together” which wasn’t quite a trio record since it contained four vocal tracks. Here is a shot of he and talented trumpeter Terell Stafford.
Here’s a shot of Lafayette and alto saxophone wonder, Donald Harrison, after the recording of CARMELLA for Lafayette’s new CD, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT
While in Okayama, Japan, Lafayette and a vocalist coached some young vocalists. Here’s a group photo after one of the classes.
Harris was the music director and conductor for “CAB CALLOWAY’S LEGACY OF SWING TOUR” featuring Miss Chris Calloway in a ten-week tour of the US.
Here’s Lafayette with percussionist Café at the CD Release party for CONCRETE JUNGLE by Ron Jackson and Nicki Parrott.
In 2000, Harris began playing with Soul Conversation; a group conjured up by guitar great Mark Whitfield for the new label of Harris’ teenage idol Mr. Herbie Hancock. He also traveled with the Boys Choir of Harlem and performed solo piano concerts at BAMcafé.
Harris himself is also an educator who has found time to return to his alma mater, Oberlin Conservatory, for a stint of teaching Jazz Piano for the 2000 fall semester. He has also taught at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Queens College and at times teaches privately.
Lafayette was part of Max Roach’s collaboration with a gospel choir that toured Paris and London in 1998 as well as with the Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir in 1997. That period with the legendary drummer prompted him to describe Harris as a “phenomenal new voice on the music scene.” Here they are together after one of Max’s concerts in New York City.
Lafayette started his own record label to release his music and the music of his peers.
One of the first releases, "Lafayette Is Here...Solo" was voted one of the best releases of the year by the editors of Cadence Magazine
In 1995 and 1996 Harris became associate conductor and keyboardist for the smash Broadway hit “Bring In ’Da Noise, Bring In ’Da Funk.”
The Broadway cast included Jeffrey Wright.
Savion Glover was the shows star performer at both the Public Theatre and on Broadway at the Ambassador. He also took home the Tony for Best Choreography.
Lafayette credits playing for the stage with heightening his appreciation for all music. “You think a lot about listening peripherally,” he said. “Not only are you hearing yourself, but you hear a sock cymbal three feet behind you, or a singer taking a breath all the way on the other side of the stage. You have to listen more acutely because everything is spread out.”
While Lafayette was still on Broadway doing “Bring In ‘Da Noise,” he took some time off to play at Peter Jennings’ house in the Hampton’s. It was a fundraiser for underprivileged kids.
The band starred three late, important figures of music. Illinois Jacquet, Percy Heath, Max Roach. Lafayette and Wynton Marsalis look on as they are discussing the proceedings.
Better still, all are “listening to Max, discuss the proceedings!”
Here’s a shot of the late, great Peter Jennings, Joanne Thomas and Lafayette after the performance at Mr. Jennings’ home. Peter was a real jazz fan and wonderful host to his guests.
Before they performed for Peter, they ate and told tall tales! In all seriousness though, it was amazing to sit and hear incredible stories from Mr. Percy Heath and from his wife who was also present. What fascinating lives!
Lafayette would continue to perform in Europe and meet many music greats. Here he is with piano virtuoso, Dorothy Donegan. In the 1980's he and Sammy Price used to go The Village Vanguard together to hear her play.
Muse Records principal, Joe Fields, offered Harris his first CD exposure as a leader. The first “Lafayette Is Here,” a 1992 quintet session, made up of then young lions: Terell Stafford, trumpet; Don Braden, tenor saxophone; and rhythm section-mates bassist Lonnie Plaxico and drummer Cindy Blackman. A second Muse recording, “Happy Together,” starred The Lafayette Harris Trio plus Melba Moore. Fields and Harris were reunited again in the summer of 2003 to record a new record for Grammy finalist Ernestine Anderson.
Harris has appeared on the European circuit playing Jazz Festivals in Nice, Helsinki, Geneva and several cities in Germany. While in Europe in 1992 Harris made his debut recordings as a sideman. First was with trombonist's Slide Hampton and John Gordon then with Barbara Morrison. The famous Ronny Scott's in London has been a regular stop for Harris on his way to other establishments in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
1992 was also the first year Harris would return to Europe as the leader of his own group. Here he is in Kaiserslautern, Germany, Oct, 1992 leading his band with Barbara Morrison on vocal.
Some of the singers Lafayette has performed with include Tony and Grammy nominees & winners Jennifer Holiday, Melba Moore, the late Nell Carter and most recently, Ernestine Anderson. He has also accompanied Carla Cook (another Grammy nominee), Barbara Morrison, Little Jimmy Scott and Rudy Rae Moore (AKA Dolomite).
The first time Trombones Unlimited, would feature Slide Hampton was in January 1990. Harris had just finished a month long gig in the Dominican Republic with a meringue band. Here is Lafayette and Slide at a rest stop in Germany.
Harris’ theater credentials began when he was a student at Oberlin College doing music direction for Woodie King, Jr. That led to him working for Mr. King in New York, starting in 1989. He performed in the production KING, about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Harris made his first trip to Europe in 1988 with John Gordon and his Trombones Unlimited. The group would return to Germany and Switzerland regularly and would feature a 3 trombonist’s frontline. The featured performers have been-Slide Hampton, Curtis Fuller, Josh Rosemond and Lou Blackburn who wrote the theme to the TV show, BONANZA and lived nicely in Europe for the rest of his life.
Lafayette’s biggest idol growing up was the wonderful Herbie Hancock. Here they are together at the Blue Note around 1989.
Harris established residency in New York City in 1985 and almost immediately became a stalwart in the rhythm sections of small groups and large ensembles in clubs and concert venues. Working in well established clubs like the Blue Note, Sweet Basil, Fat Tuesday's and The Iridium were all part of his inauguration into the jazz scene of New York.
Another important teacher in New York is the great Barry Harris with whom he still studies.
Lafayette's early dedication to ragtime would pay off in the future. His first out-of-town gig after moving to New York was with the late flautist Jan Rosemand playing the music of Scott Joplin music. He eventually wrote his own tune based on Joplin’s “Solace” which appeared on his second Muse release “Happy Together”.
He was a featured pianist for the Piano Choir in late 2001 at the University of Maryland. This group of 6 pianists, led by Stanley Cowell, performs a varied repertoire. This particular concert featured the ragtime music of none other than Eubie Blake.
Harris and Cowell also performed with the legendary Billy Taylor at this event.
Another pianist that made a big impact on Lafayette’s life was Sammy Price. The “King of Boogie Woogie” was very generous to him since their meeting in Aspen, Colorado in the summer of 1984. Upon moving to New York in 1985, Sammy helped Lafayette get his music career on track. He also made him a lot of home cooked meals. This is a picture of them after one of those meals.
While still in high school Harris attended Peabody Prep at Johns Hopkins in downtown Baltimore. In 1985 he earned his Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and then studied with master pianist Kenny Barron at Rutgers (NJ) where he earned a Masters in Jazz Performance.
A Baltimore native, Harris was a product of his late 70's musical era: in high school he played Fender Rhodes in a “top 40” band reinterpreting the music of the Ohio Players, Parliament/Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins and the Gap Band. His real hero however, was fellow-Baltimorean Eubie Blake. After hearing Eubie play Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag”, Harris was inspired to learn and play it to perfection.