Donald Harrison Jr. at the New Orleans Jazz Fest 2007
|Born||23 June 1960|
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, jazz funk soul classical composer|
|Labels||Concord, Columbia, Candid, Impulse!, Nagel Heyer|
Donald Harrison Jr. (born June 23, 1960) is a jazz saxophonist from New Orleans, Louisiana. He is married to Mary Alic? Spears-Harrison and the father of Victoria Harrison.
The foundation of Harrison's music comes from his lifelong participation in New Orleans culture. He started in New Orleans secondline culture and studied New Orleans secret tribal culture under his father, Big Chief Donald Harrison Sr.. Harrison Jr. is currently the Chief of Congo Square in Afro-New Orleans Culture. He studied at the Berklee College of Music. As a professional musician he worked with Roy Haynes and Jack McDuff before joining Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers with Terence Blanchard and recorded albums in a quintet until 1989. Two years later Harrison released a tribute album to Blakey. This was followed by an album that reached into Harrison's New Orleans heritage with guest appearances by Dr. John and Cyrus Chestnut and chants by the Guardians of the Flame Mardi Gras Indians. He devoted half the album Nouveau Swing (1997) to mixing the swing beat of modern acoustic jazz with modern dance music and half to mixing the swing beat with Caribbean-influenced music. On the next album his experiments continued by mixing modern jazz's swing beat with hip hop, Latin music, R&B, and smooth jazz.
His albums, 3D Vols. I, II, and III, present him in three different musical genres. On Vol. I he writes, plays, and produces smooth jazz and R&B style. On Vol. II he writes, produces and plays in the classic jazz style. On Vol. III he writes plays and produces hip hop.
His group, Donald Harrison Electric Band, has recorded popular radio hits and has charted in the top ten of Billboard magazine. He performs as a producer, singer, and rapper in traditional New Orleans jazz and hip hop genres with his group, The New Sounds of Mardi Gras. The group, which has recorded two albums, was started in 2001 and has made appearances worldwide. Harrison is the Big Chief of the Congo Nation Afro-New Orleans Cultural Group, which keeps alive the secret traditions of Congo Square.
In 2016 Harrison recorded his first orchestral work with The Moscow Symphony Orchestra. He followed up the piece for the MSO by writing classical orchestral works for the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, The New York Chamber Orchestra, and The Jalapa Symphony Orchestra in 2017.
Harrison has nurtured a number of young musicians including trumpeter Christian Scott (Harrison's nephew), Mark Whitfield, Christian McBride, and The Notorious B.I.G. Harrison was in Spike Lee's HBO documentary When the Levees Broke and has appeared as himself in eleven episodes of the television series Treme.
Harrison was chosen Person of the Year by Jazziz magazine in January 2007.
As co-leader with Terence Blanchard
With Art Blakey
With Joanne Brackeen
With The Headhunters
With the Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project
With Eddie Palmieri
With Don Pullen
With Lonnie Smith
With Esperanza Spalding
With Jane Monheit