Gene Harris


Instant Party

  • Release Date: 27 Jul 2004
  • CCD-2247-2

There are no sounds more celebratory and life-affirming than those of Gene Harris’ ten fingers coaxing every ounce of soul, blues and funk out of the ivories. Some of the legendary soul-jazz and blues pianist’s most relentlessly groovin’, feel-good tracks are all right here, in one party-ready CD. From the in-the-pocket funk of “Old Funky Gene’s” to the deeply-grooving blues anthem “Down Home Blues,” each tune in this collection is an undeniab… MORE


The peerless combination of musical qualities that Gene Harris unleashed on up-tempo burners and deep-in-the-pocket medium-tempo… More

Nothing in music is as exhilarating as a big band in full cry. There are few such big bands left, and none has such an abundance of brilliance -… More

Recorded in 1981 at Otter Crest, Oregon, this never-before-released live recording finds powerhouse jazz/blues pianist GENE HARRIS in top form!… More

Soulful, bluesy, swingin', hard-bopping, funky -- which of these best describes the two-fisted jazz piano stylings of Gene Harris? Answer: All of… More

What happens when one of the world's greatest blues pianists finally records his dream gospel album? You have a recording that will instantly… More

Count Basie often said one thing whenever he was asked to characterize his music: "I lke to do things where you can halfway pat your… More



Gene Harris was born Sept. 1, 1933. He was first attracted to music when he was four. Growing up in Benton Harbor, Michigan, he was attracted to the music of local bandleader Charles Metcalf’s group and was inspired to try to pick out songs on the piano. Harris also enjoyed the music he heard in church and the boogie-woogie records of his parents. Swing, gospel and blues combined to form the roots of his style. Harris quickly developed as a pianist, had opportunities to play music while serving in the Army (1951-54) and, after his discharge, he formed the Four Sounds. By 1956 the group dropped their original plan to include a tenor-saxophonist and had been renamed the Three Sounds.

During 1956-70, the Three Sounds (which also included the late bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy) was one of the most popular bands in jazz. The group performed the swinging and soulful music that one still associates with Harris, recording quite prolifically and helping to define soul jazz. Harris retained the Three Sounds name for a few years after the departure of Simpkins and Dowdy and then in 1977 largely retired from the jazz scene to settle in Boise, Idaho and play at a local hotel. After a few years out of the spotlight, in the early 1980’s bassist Ray Brown persuaded Harris to travel again. The pianist for a time was a member of Brown’s Trio before forming his own quartet, showing that his powerful blues-based style was still very much in its prime.

Since his return, Gene Harris has recorded many albums for Concord in settings ranging from quartet outings and dates on which he led the Philip Morris Superband to a set of unaccompanied piano solos (Vol. 23 of the acclaimed Maybeck Recital Hall Series). Together these highly enjoyable releases form quite a musical legacy.