A very distinctive trait of New York/Boston-based jazz pianist Kevin Harris is his desire to constantly grow, evolve, improve, and advance. Harris plays a distinctive combination of traditional and contemporary music that seeks to celebrate the musical influences of Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis intersecting with J.S. Bach, Scott Joplin, and the folkloric African rhythms of the Caribbean.
Among his most notable collaborations are Greg Osby, Bill Pierce, Francisco Mela, Avishai Cohen, Eddie Gomez, Duane Eubanks, Richie Barshay, Ben Street, Jason Palmer, Rudy Royston, Frank Lacey, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Curtis Lundy, Eric McPherson, Dayna Stephens, Ralph Peterson, Ameen Saleem, Greg Hutchinson, and Terri Lyne Carrington.
In 2020 he was nominated by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to be a Neighborhood Salon Luminary with the goal to exchange creative ideas and dialogue with Boston’s most innovative and thoughtful luminaries, fostering collaborations and artistic networks while shaping Gardner Museum programming. With his most recent projects, “Roots, Water and Sunlight: A Contemporary Octet Expedition through the Expressions of James Baldwin”, “Upward Mothers”, and “Griot Series”, Harris directed his creativity to inspire the audience to reflect on unexpected realities and continuously be committed to positive and courageous changes.
As a leader, he has released five albums. DownBeat defines some of Harris’ compositions as “overall smart, lyrical and engrossing”, and The Phoenix highlights “the tight/loose elasticity, the tension between form and freedom that was the hallmark of so many Miles Davis sessions with Shorter and Herbie Hancock . . . calm and collected, but also loose and full of surprises." Harris is in demand as a clinician and consistently collaborates with both public and private education institutions nationally and internationally. He is currently on faculty at Berklee College of Music and he is also a MIT affiliated artist.
"Participation,” Harris says, "is what keeps our souls alive.