Charley Harrison
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Charley Harrison

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE | AFM

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE | AFM
Band Jazz Jazz


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"CD Review - (5/1)"

Even at first glance, you know some albums are going to be great. Maybe it’s the cover, maybe it’s the choice of tunes, maybe it’s the players. Now while the idea of Charley Harrison lounging a tuxedo doesn’t do anything for me, great tunes and great artists most certainly do. And when you see that Cedar Walton, Bobby Broom, Kurt Elling, Frieda Lee and Freddy Cole are all gathered on the same disc, you know that you’re in for a treat.

Well, Keeping My Composure doesn’t disappoint. Jeff Limdberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra is worth its weight in gold, and shines here. The list of players in this band is a veritable Who’s Who of the local jazz scene. And any chance to hear the criminally under-recorded Ron Perrillo in action is cause for celebration on its own.

Duke Pearson’s “Jeannine” is given the Kurt Elling treatment to kick things off. Interestingly, Kurt toys with the melody constantly, giving it a playful feel and making an old warhorse sound fresh and new. While Elling is certainly no stranger to vocalese, he’s always stayed close to his melodies, and here cutting loose on a well known favorite, he’s recorded one of his best gems of the last couple of years.

The emerging star of this record, however, is newcomer Sara Gazarek. She put out an album last year called Yours, and it was a killer. Her performances on two of Harrison’s originals, “Recipe for Romance” and “If You Were Mine.” Are nothing short of fantastic.

Cedar Walton’s turn on the ballad “Lori’s Dream” is wonderful, Frieda Lee finds herself in fine form on her features as well. The final tune on the album features Freddy Cole on vocals and local treasure Art Hoyle on trumpet, and they both sound great.

All in all, this is a wonderful album from first track to last. All involved should be quite proud of their efforts on this excellent disc.

- Paul Abella
- Chicago Jazz Magazine

"CMJ/Sonic Bids Spotlight Artist"

CMJ/Sonic Bids Spotlight Artist. Week of 2/18/2008. - CMJ/Sonic Bids

"CD Review - (7/24)"

Charley Harrison, a Chicago native transplanted to the Los Angeles area, hasn't neglected his roots for his debut recording. Enlisting Jeff Lindberg's Chicago Jazz Orchestra - in which he plays guitar - and guests such as pianist Cedar Walton, guitarist Bobby Broom and singers, Kurt Elling, Freddy Cole, Sara Gazarek and Frieda Lee, Harrison displays his skills as composer, arranger, lyricist and guitarist.

Despite the fact that seven of the album's 11 tracks feature vocals, there are plenty of spots for instrumentalists to shine. Bookend vocal tracks spotlight Elling ("Jeannine") and Cole ("On The South Side Of Chicago") offer a couple of the album's highlights. Harrison's compositions provide great platforms for the soloists. "Lori's Dream" features Walton, "B.S." shines the spotlight on tenor saxophonist Brian Sjoerdinga and "Vitamin B-3" is a forceful outing for organist Dan Trudell, tenor saxophonist Bill Overton and the full ensemble. This is a promising effort, with bright swinging arrangements, a good array of tunes and plenty of ensemble power. Harrison's next outing hopefully will find a more individual stance.

- Will Smith - Down Beat

"Jazz Chart Climber - Press Release (5/30)"

May 30, 2006


West Hollywood, CA…Composer/arranger/conductor Charley Harrison’s KEEPING MY COMPOSURE, released on C3 Records, is climbing the Jazz Week and CMJ Jazz Radio Charts. As of May 29th, the CD was #23 on the Jazz Week chart and as of May 1, #37 on the CMJ Jazz charts.

The CD features the Chicago Jazz Orchestra with special guest artists Freddy Cole, Kurt Elling, Sara Gazarek, Cedar Walton and Bobby Broom, to mention a few. Highlight cuts receiving multiple rotations are JEANNINE sung by Kurt Elling, SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO sung by Freddy Cole, and Harrison originals that include RECIPE FOR ROMANCE sung by Sara Gazarek, Vitamin B3 with Dan Trudell on B-3 organ and 2X6 featuring the guitar work of Bobby Broom and Charley Harrison.

2X6 has been described as a “…standout,” by MetroLA Magazine; Peter Kuller of Radio Adelaide Australia commented, “Great music, great band. This is why big band music is still alive and much loved”; legendary guitarist Kenny Burrell notes, “…Charley Harrison is one of the outstanding new voices in jazz arranging and composition - Entertainment Enterprises

"CD Review - (8/1)"

Charley Harrison, a guitarist, composer, arranger and professor of Jazz Studies at UCLA, brings JR247 a well-crafted, well-performed recording. This disc features many outstanding guest soloists and a great band from Chicago, The Chicago Jazz Orchestra. As guitarist Kenny Burrell states,
“Charley Harrison is one of the outstanding new voices in jazz arranging and composition. His ability to incorporate improvisation with Orchestration is masterful."

I also agree. The beauty of this disc, is Harrison’s ability to orchestrate and incorporate the soloists in each and every track. In this way, this disc has the spontaneity and freshness that will attract many to revisit the disc for multiple listens. Another strength is his choice of titles and compositional style. The music has a very lyrical quality and soulful sense. With all of the guests included, there is much musical contrast. The vehicles given all the soloists are well conceived and therefore lead to fine performances throughout. This album has a mature and fresh quality for it’s listeners.

Harrison's originals on this recording include, “Recipe for Romance” and “If You Were Mine” sung by Sara Garazek; “Vitamin B-3” with Dan Trudell on B-3 organ; “B.S” with Brian Sjoerdinga on tenor sax; Cedar Walton on piano for “Lori's Dream; and guitarists Bobby Broom and Harrison on “2 By 6.”
The standards include “Jeannine” sung by Kurt Elling; “Pure Imagination,” “More Love” and “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” Corcovado) with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra's vocalist Frieda Lee; and Freddy Cole, singing “Southside of Chicago,” his first big band recording in over 20 years.

If you like well-crafted Big Band music, that swings, featuring great vocalists and world class soloists, you must discover this new, young composer and arranger. He has put together a swinging, dynamic group of performances that will lead listeners back for a desire for more!

- Rick Holland - Jazz Radio 24/7

"CD Review - (3/27)"

Composer, arranger and guitarist Charley Harrison gets to demonstrate all three skills on a big-band album featuring a lineup of top-notch vocalists and instrumentalists. Chicagoan Kurt Elling joins the group with a soaring rendition of the Duke Pearson/Oscar Brown, Jr. composition "Jeannine." Young singer Sara gazarek is sweet and lovely on a pair of Harrison originals, while the knowing, mature and polished sound of Chicago Jazz Orchestra regular Frieda Lee, who performed regularly with Joe Williams, is reminiscent of the jazz divas of the '40s and'50s. Instrumental highlights include "Lori's Dream" with Cedar Walton, "Vitamin B-3" with organist Dan Trudell, and "2 By 6," a duet with Chicagoland guitarist Bobby Broom. Brilliant arrangements like these remind us why we love big bands.

- Ed Trefzger - JazzWeek


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"



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.