Charley Harrison

Charley Harrison

 Los Angeles, California, USA

"Charley Harrison is one of the outstanding new voices in jazz arranging and composition. His ability to incorporate improvisation with orchestration is masterful." - Kenny Burrell, legendary guitarist


With the release of his first solo CD, KEEPING MY COMPOSURE (C3 Records), composer, arranger, conductor and guitarist Charley Harrison, joined the ranks of multi-faceted legendary musicians such as Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini and Duke Ellington. The critically acclaimed CD, on C3 Records, climbed the Jazz Week Charts for 13 weeks.

A Chicago native, Harrison was appointed Director of the UCLA Jazz Orchestra in Los Angeles, in 2004, while still serving, since 1991, as Associate Director and guitarist for the eighteen-piece Chicago Jazz Orchestra. CJO is currently backing his CD of original material and jazz standards, with guest performances by vocalists Freddy Cole, Kurt Elling, Sara Gazarek and CJO’s Frieda Lee, guitarist Bobby Broom and pianist Cedar Walton, among others. Chicago Jazz Magazine hailed the recording as…“a treat…a wonderful album from first track to last…an excellent disc.”

His multi-dimensional arrangements meld modern, classic swing, Latin and contemporary jazz elements. Last year, his adventurous interpretation of Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE, won him a rave review in the Chicago Tribune, which stated, “Writing rhythms that press relentlessly forward, weaving New Orleans street beats and bebop-tinged passages…the last few bars…utterly unexpected, planted the piece firmly into the 21st Century.”

A graduate of Northwestern University, Charley has also attended Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music. Charley honed is composition skills in the advertising industry for diverse clients that included McDonald’s, the Chicago White Sox, Chuck E. Cheese and Bissell Vacuum Cleaners.

In 2000, composer/producer/jazz artist Marcus Miller recruited him to score THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN for Sony/TriStar. The two then went on to collaborate on THE LADIES MAN for Paramount and ONE LOVE for Spyglass Entertainment. Charley also lent his transcription and orchestration talents to Miller’s 2002 Grammy award winning album M2.

Recent highlights for Charley include scoring writer/director Don Goodman’s LAVINIA'S HEIST, as well as, writer/director Steven Gary Banks’ comedy HEAD RUSH; orchestrating and conducting Kenny Burrell’s RALPH BUNCHE SUITE, an extended work for jazz orchestra with featured soloists; and contributing arrangements to FROM CHRISTMAS EVE TO CHRISTMAS MORN for Tony nominee Brian D’Arcy James.

A rare breed of composer, Charley Harrison, is equally skilled with a baton in front of an orchestra or behind a computer in a studio full of synthesizers. His music has been enjoyed on the silver screen, the TV screen, and featured in symphony halls and nightclubs, nationally and internationally.


Recipe For Romance

Written By: Charley Harrison

You’ve had too many cooks in your kitchen
who just didn’t have a clue,
Their lack of skill behind the grill,
has left you alone to stew.
That Rosemary was chicken,
Susan was lazy,
And Hazel…she was just a nut.
Your Ko-ko melted, then your Ginger snapped,
And Julie-Ann was not cut out for you.
They would not know an herb from a verb,
When standing before their stoves.
The word around town is all they could do,
Is take off all their CLOVES!

Come and see the perfect recipe,
For romance here’s your chance, just you and me.
I don’t need to preheat my oven,
just hug and kiss me right.
Don’t bother to dress for dinner,
we’re eating in tonight.

I’ll serve you breakfast in bed,
And you’ll see I make quite a spread.
I’ve seen you lookin’ so come taste my cookin’
It’ll knock you off your feet.
Come and sample this buffet…all you can eat.

Instrumental interlude/solos

I’ll serve you breakfast in bed,
And you’ll see I make quite a spread.
Now I hope you see how tasty we could be.
Here’s your big chance to make romance,
Another sweet dance,
Take a new glance,
It’s your best chance,
For romance…my recipe.

If You Were Mine

Written By: Charley Harrison

I grew up just down the block,
but I never drew your glance.
For you I was just a bit too young,
to ever have a chance.
You never saw how my heart yearned
to have you as my mate.
You went and found some other girl,
picked a church and set a date.
But now that some time has passed,
this flower's in full bloom.
It's not too late to change your mind,
before you become a groom.
My mother always called you son,
albeit just in fun.
There's so much more that I could give if you'd just make me the one.

Life would be bliss,
I'd cherish every kiss,
oh, if you were mine.
I would sing to the world,
like a sparrow on the wing.

Oh I wish you could see,
your tomorrows with me,
oh, won't you be mine?
I'd don silk and lace,
to put a smile on your face,
and send chills
up and down your spine.
Our future would be
absolutely heavenly,
if you were mine.

2 By 6

Written By: Charley Harrison



Charley's CD "Keeping My Composure" is currently receiving nationwide radio airplay, and has been on the "JazzWeek" radio chart for 12 weeks.

Selected Discography - Albums:

Charley Harrison - "Keeping My Composure"

Clark Terry w/Chicago Jazz Orchestra - "Porgy & Bess"

Kenny Burrell - "Ralph Bunche Suite"

Brian D'Arcy James - "Christmas Eve to Christmas Morn"

Marcus Miller - "M2"

Daniel Bareiboim - "Tribute to Ellington"

Jazz Members Big Band - "Diggin' In"

Set List

Charley can play sets of varying lengths (length and number of sets are negotiable).

A typical Charley Harrison Orchestra set consists of Charley's originals and arrangements, combined with classic (though lesser-known), arrangements from writers such as Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, Frank Foster and others. Below are three examples of a 50-60 minute set list.

Sample Set 1:
1. B. S.
2. Infant Eyes
3. My Shining Hour - vocal (arr.)
4. Recipe for Romance - vocal
5. Pure Imagination - vocal (arr.)
6. On the South Side of Chicago - vocal (arr.)
7. Girl Talk
8. Intimacy of the Blues (arr.)

Sample Set 2:
1. Come Fly With Me
2. Doodle Oodle
3. Bill Evans Suite
4. Jeannine - vocal (arr.)
5. My Funny Valentine - vocal (arr.)
6. Route 66 - vocal (arr.)
7. Polka Dots and moonbeams
8. 2 By 6

Sample Set 3 (Instrumental):
1. Hey Jim
2. Secret Love
3. Chelsea Bridge
4. Nica's Dream
5. All of You
6. Young and Foolish
7. Hello, Young Lovers
8. Vitamin B-3