So the Story Goes: Barry Harris's Never-ending Master Class


Barry Harris: better late than never

News | Jun, 15th 2017

If you get a group of jazz musicians in a room together, it’s only a matter of time until they start sharing stories from the road. In this original series, “So the Story Goes,” we will highlight some of those great stories. (See other entries in this series.)

Since the 1980s, jazz piano legend and educator Barry Harris has been giving weekly master classes to students hoping to learn the vocabulary and traditions that make up jazz. Even at 87 years old, he teaches three classes every Tuesday: a piano class at 6:00PM, a vocal class at 7:30PM, and an improvisation class for all instruments that runs from 10:00PM to midnight. It wasn’t by chance, though, that the master class series has lasted as long as it has.

Clearly, he's a master educator:

In a 2002 broadcast of Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on NPR, Harris provides some insight into how one of jazz’s longest-running educational workshops came to be.

"Okay, so [The Jazz Coalition] used to have a workshop. And so what happened was, I was supposed to teach the workshop one day—it was the last workshop—and, unfortunately, I went into OTB [Off Track Betting] to play the horses.

"And so I got there [to OTB] and, I tell you, what happened was this: I was supposed to be there at four o’ clock and at seven o’ clock, I suddenly said, ‘I'm supposed to teach at four!’ So I went out and jumped in a cab... Here I go running to the place, I get there, you know, everybody was sitting there waiting on me… three hours later! So I saidand this was the last day of the class—I said, ‘Here’s what we’ll do. We’re gonna continue having this class forever.' I say, 'All you gotta do is bring enough money just to pay the rentI don’t want anythingjust everybody bring a few dollars. We’ll pay the rent. And we’ll keep the class going.’

"That’s how the class started."

Listen to the full episode and catch Barry Harris and his trio—made up of bassist Ray Drummond and drummer Leroy Williams—play 7:30 and 9:30 sets from Friday June 16th through Sunday June 18th at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

Can’t make it to the club? You can stream both sets on Sunday, June 18th right here:


read more

We sat down with saxophonist Azar Lawrence to hear what it was like playing with McCoy Tyner on some of Tyner's most acclaimed recordings and what he learned from our 2017 Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame inductee.

read more

Hamilton de Holanda, who's referred to as the "Jimi Hendrix" of the bandolim (or Brazilian mandolin), shares some of his favorite Thelonious Monk tunes in advance of his World of Monk performances with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.


popular


Duke Ellington

The Essential Ellington: How Duke Ellington Changed Jazz Forever

Nobody in the history of jazz expressed himself more freely; or with more variety, swing, and sophistication than Duke Ellington. Listen to our playlist of essential Ellington recordings and find out how he changed jazz forever.

read more
Nina and Nat

And the Inductees Are… Your Choices for the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame

Find out who the three 2018 inductees into the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame are! All three made an indelible impact on America's music and influenced millions in the process.

read more
Ahmad Jamal - Photo by Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Another 10 Essential Jazz Albums

Here's a list of 10 more must-have classics for to round out your collection of jazz records.

read more
Thelonious Monk at the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival with his children, T.S. and Boo Boo.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Thelonious Monk, by His Son T.S. Monk

Celebrate Thelonious Monk by getting to know the legend through his son’s memories.

read more
Chick Corea - photo by Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Chick Corea: Five Essential Albums

Chick Corea is one of the most influential figures in jazz and one of the greatest living jazz pianists. In advance of his trio’s July 4 performance in Highland Park, IL, at the Ravinia Festival alongside the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, here are five essential albums from his discography.

read more
Wynton Marsalis performs on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Celebrating Spaces and The Abyssinian Mass with Colbert on The Late Show

Wynton Marsalis appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to perform with Jon Batiste, Stay Human, and acclaimed dancer Lil Buck. Check out video and behind-the-scenes content from their performance.

read more

10 Essential Jazz Albums

New to jazz and don't know where to start? With many artists and extensive catalogues of music, a new jazz listener can feel intimidated. We're here to help! Check out our list of 10 albums to get you started on your jazz journey and introduce yourself to some of jazz's great artists.

read more

A Visit to Clark Terry

On December 7, 2014 the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra drove 8 hours on an off day to play for Clark Terry on his 94th birthday. Victor Goines, James Chirillo, Ted Nash, Vincent Gardner, and Walter Blanding recall the day and the impact that Clark had on jazz.

read more

recommended


Gerald Cannon

Gerald Cannon Talks Dizzy's, His Early Days, & Love of Teaching

We sat down with Gerald Cannon ahead of his Memorial Day Weekend performances at Dizzy's.

read more
Will Calhoun

Will Calhoun Talks Individuality, Elvin Jones, and Dizzy’s

Discover how growing up in the Bronx shaped Will Calhoun’s appreciation for art and how Elvin Jones inspired him to define his individuality.

read more
Ornette Coleman

The Department Store Painting that Inspired Ornette Coleman and 5 Other Interesting Facts About His Life

Ornette Coleman led a life as fascinating as his music. Read up on some interesting facts about this jazz legend!

read more
Joe Temperley, by Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Notes from the Road: Remembering Joe Temperley

Before his passing in May, Joe Temperley spent 29 unforgettable years as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's baritone saxophonist and its beloved elder statesman. Between performances on their recent mini-tour of Canada, several JLCO members shared their memories of Temperley, who left behind an indelible legacy and a whole lot of stories.

read more

6 Underappreciated Jazz Artists You Should Check Out

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, so we thought we'd celebrate by delving into the careers of a handful of underappreciated jazz artists. Explore the careers of six musicians who deserve more accolades and learn the best places to start with their discographies.

read more