Allan Harris Knows Love Songs

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(Allan Harris--the man knows something about love).

Allan Harris stood upon the famed Blue Note stage accompanied by pianist Eric Reed crooning songs that were reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s, a period when romantic songs had depth. 

When melodies caressed the heart and soul and made women swoon. It was a time when singers sang and emotions ran high, an era so desperately missed. Listening to Harris’s soft sentimental lament, I was reminded of the stylings of singers like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, and Tony Bennett. Yet, Harris clearly brought something new and exciting to his renditions.  It was evident the audience certainly thought so.

Harris’s manner on stage is gentle and unforced. He is bidding his time, savoring each note.  He’s smooth, articulate and in total control. A Brooklyn native, Harris grew up around music.  The product of a musical family, his mother was a classical pianist and his aunt sang opera and later on, blues. It’s no wonder that Harris appeared to have total control of his vocal accoutrements while he experimented with the songs of 1950’s balladeer Johnny Hartman.  “I am trying out new material this evening. I am only here for this one night but I am happy to be here because it’s such a special evening.  My music will pay tribute to the Blue Note’s 25th Anniversary,” declared the singer who has thrilled world wide audiences.

“I want you to check out my CD.  I am selling them tonight at the performance.  I’ll give one to you” added Harris with a wide grin. “The CD features the songs of the great Billy Strayhorn.  “It’s entitled Love Came: The Songs of Strayhorn. Eric Reed the pianist who is with me tonight is also featured on the CD.  He is a great pianist.  I am lucky to have him.”

The album has songs like “Passion Flower,” “Just A-Sittin’ and A-Rockin’,” “Love Came,” and “Love Has Passed Me By Again.”  There are 14 songs in all on the CD. Harris talked about his upcoming engagements in Florida and the Caribbean.

Harris plans to spend Christmas in Istanbul with his wife but music has taken him all around the world. He has appeared and performed in jazz clubs in Europe, Asia, Finland, Italy, Holland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Turkey and Japan, to name a few.

“I am feeling real good tonight. Things are going great this evening.  I am playing with Eric and we are hitting some new highs.  After tonight, Eric and I will head to Philadelphia where we will be doing a two weeks engagement in a week or so.  So far, it’s been a wonderful year, I played Kennedy Center and then did two weeks at the Algonquin,” reflected Harris about his ability to continue to book performances with ease over the past year.

Harris has appeared in some of Europe’s most famous opera houses.  He appeared with the Metropole Orchestra, the Rias Big Band, and the Thilo Wolfe Big Band. BET Jazz aired Allan’s live concerts with Lou Rawls and Ramsey Lewis.  Harris sang for the first Jazz Awards Show, held in Washington, DC which was filmed in BET’s Jazz studios.  Chuck Mangione and Mark Carey were also part of the awards event.  Interviews with Harris were also featured by the Smithsonian via their “Jazz Singers” series.  He was touted by CNN’s Showbiz Tonight as one of the three best male jazz vocalists in the country.

Other CDs recorded by Harris are: “Setting the Standard;” “It’s A Wonderful World,” “Here Comes Allan Harris and the Metropole Orchestra,” “The Music of Duke Ellington,” and “Laid Back”  His recordings have featured artists like Ray Brown, Mark Whitfield, Clark Terry, Nestor Torres and Jon Faddis.

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