Lamar Harris
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Lamar Harris


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"St. Louis Jazz Festival 2007"

Entertainment > Music > Story
St. Louis Jazz & Heritage Festival
By Terry Perkins

Presenting an outdoor music festival is not a job for the faint-hearted. Just ask the staff of Cultural Festivals, the team that produces the St. Louis Jazz & Heritage Festival at Shaw Park in Clayton.

Of course, there's one major concern that can't be overlooked: the weather.

A powerful thunderstorm rolled through the seventh annual Jazz & Heritage Fest at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, causing a two-hour delay in the music. Just as the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Big Band was to begin its set, Cultural Festivals executive director Cindy Prost announced to the crowd that for safety reasons, she had to ask them to leave the grounds and take shelter. Vendors had to evacuate their booths.

The music, which had kicked off at noon with a main stage set by the Collin County Community College Jazz Lab Band from Texas and a sizzling performance at the Soul School Stage by local Latin band S.L. Son, was put on hold. The festival reopened shortly before 3 p.m., and the music was back on track by 3:30. Unfortunately, sets by the SIUE Big Band and St. Louis vocalist Jeanne Trevor were canceled.
Appropriately, Kim Massie kicked off her main stage set with "I Can't Stand the Rain," a 1973 hit for St. Louisan Ann Peebles. A steady drizzle reappeared during Massie's abbreviated set, but her powerful vocals and the excellent musicianship of her band brought the drenched crowd back to life.

Trevor got the chance to sing guest vocals on "I've Got the World on a String" and "St. Louis Blues" at the Soul School stage during the set by Nancy Kranzberg and the Second Half. And by the time famed Latin percussionist Poncho Sanchez began to play on the main stage at 4:30, the weather had cleared, and crowds of music fans began to stream through the gates in anticipation of hearing headliners George Benson and Ramsey Lewis later in the evening.

Those who arrived in time to hear Sanchez and local trombonist Lamar Harris at the Soul School stage were treated to two of the best sets. Conga legend Sanchez, accompanied by two other percussionists, as well as bass, keyboards and a powerhouse horn section, raised the energy level with burning versions of "Do It" and "Cinderella." Harris, backed by the excellent quartet Good 4 the Soul, laid down

a funky, groove-oriented mix that earned a standing ovation.

By the time guitar legend George Benson took the stage a little before 7 p.m., the crowd had increased by thousands, and there was a definite good-time vibe in the air. Benson gave the crowd exactly what they came to hear — his signature guitar sound on instrumentals such as "Breezin'," and smooth, polished vocals and in-sync strumming on "This Masquerade," "Give Me the Night" and an encore of "On Broadway."

Pianist Ramsey Lewis and his trio ended the evening (Benson had specified that he didn't want to be the final act) with a strong set that featured plenty of his hits, such as "The In Crowd" and "Wade in the Water." Closing the evening seemed to add some extra energy to Lewis' keyboard attack, keeping a good portion of the crowd around until the end.

- St. Louis Post Dispatch

"Riverfront Times Showcase"

Call it funky, call it jazzy, call it whatever you want — but LaMar Harris' seamless blend of electric guitar, horns and vocals forms an explosive combination. In his younger years, he crafted hip-hop infused with spiritual undertones — and these influences (along with brass-playing greats) are reflected today in an upfront style that's cognizant of the classics, yet all his own. Though his backup band is a rotating cast of characters, Harris is an artist whose passion is audible in his music, his life playing out in bold, brassy swaths. (KM) - Riverfront Times

"Groove Therapy"

The trombone has always stood out for its bold sound, especially in jazz. But when it comes to musicians that stand out, it is most often a saxophonist, pianist, or trumpet player who shines as a solo artist. There are a number of jazz trombonists who are very influential, but in recent years they have struggled to find a place for themselves. Enter Lamar Harris.

Groove Therapy is a unique album, for it’s not only filled with the sounds of bebop and smooth jazz, but there are also hints of fusion and the kind of “out there” sounds that turned people on to Miles Davis’ electric period. In other words, Harris can play with smooth, rich tones, proving that he can be in the lead. He can also step back to let the song take its course. In a snap, he’ll run the trombone through a wah-wah or other sound effect pedals and it creates a very different sonic atmosphere, something you may expect to hear from the New York jazz underground scene rather than from St. Louis. But if you know your jazz, you know what kind of inspiration St. Louis holds for jazz musicians worldwide, and that continuation of the legacy is carried on here.

Inbetween the straightforward and futuristic material, you’ll find a nice serving of funk and soul, and not just the casual “I’ll play this way so people will know I listen to Parliament”. There’s some intense playing going on, and while an album like this requires serious listening, you can’t help but blast this out of your window and watch as the neighborhood dances. Harris knows what he’s doing, and he could easily become one of this generation’s most influential musicians (jazz and otherwise).

- John Book

"Put It On His Calling Card"

Put it on his calling card: Lamar Harris, artist
By Kevin C. Johnson
Thursday, Nov. 17 2005

Rising horn player Lamar Harris has had it with people referring to him as just
a musician.

"I've been disappointed with the way people perceive instrumental musicians,"
says Harris, a music teacher at Crossroads School who picked up his first
instrument, the trumpet, at age 7. "They believe we're musicians and not
artists. But what do you call Miles Davis and John Coltrane? They're not just
musicians. They're artists. Whenever you create something that's got your heart
and soul in it, you're an artist.

"But in St. Louis, you get overlooked unless you're the Bosman Twins or you've
been in the game for a long time."

Harris is showing St. Louis he's more than a musician on his debut CD, "Your
All." The title, he says, refers to a point in a career where "you quit messing
around and you're ready to give your all and you start seeing results for the
first time. This is my first time seeing results as a solo artist."

Harris, who also performs in the Jazz Edge Big Band and the Bob Wagner Genesis
Jazz Project, was originally known around town for the jazz-fusion Lamar Harris
Sextet (1999-2001). He went from that band to the well-received but short-lived
the Movement (2001-02), a funk-soul outfit that also featured Coultrain, Coco
Soul and Jason "Dirty Lynt" Moore. But his new project is all about him - kind

He's all over the CD, producing, writing, arranging and programming the drums.
He also played the keyboards and a half-dozen horns, including his signature
trombone, the slide trumpet and the tuba.

"People pigeonhole you in one category, but I can do more than what people

Harris also sings and even raps, though he knows he's questionable when it
comes to the latter.

"I'm on the low scale right now," says Harris, who long ago rapped under the
misbegotten name of Jodale.

Despite all of his multitasking on the CD, Harris brought in a number of guest
performers for added flavor, including Coco Soul ("The Sunshine in Who's
Eyes"), Coultrain ("Fly," featuring Verbs, and "Many Lives"), Black Spade (the
title track), Chill Da Player ("Real Music for Spare Change"), Floyd "Impack"
Boykin ("She Could Be") and Jada Avenue ("Love 2 Live Soul Music").

With "Your All," Harris says he wanted to create a CD that would inspire and

"People go around with nothing positive to say, talking about 'shake this and
lick that.' But people have real problems," he says. "People are getting sued
for child support or their baby mama is setting their car on fire."

The album's strongest cut is the irresistible "Fly."

"That song's talking about struggles while cruising along on your everyday
journey," Harris says. "The hook says, 'Give me some room to fly/I'm ready to
take over the world/and with God on my side I believe I got it.'"

The song "Liar" might raise a few eyebrows in church.

"I'm not bashing the church," Harris explains. "But you do get preachers and
evangelists who rob people, who don't care about folks' well-being or soul, let
alone their spirituality."

Harris has rounded up a number of the singers and musicians who perform on
"Your All" for his concert this weekend at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room. Harris
has titled the event "The Lost Sessions."

"When you look at music today, a lot of things have been lost - the basics, the
fundamentals," he says. "Before people got to sampling, somebody was playing
that stuff live. Not too many people in St. Louis are running around doing
original (R&B) shows anymore because they think that's what people want. But if
the original music is on the same level of '70s and '80s music, people would
support it."
- St. Louis Post Dispatch by Kevin Johnson

"Lamar Harris Blows His Own Horn At Bistro"

Kevin Johnson
[More columns]

Trombonist Lamar Harris has been a true go-to featured act for top area venues and events in the past few years, including the St. Louis Jazz Festival, St. Louis Art Fair, Live on the Levee, First Night, Jammin' at the Zoo, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, the Pageant, Finale and more.

But the popular performer is only now making his debut as a headliner at Jazz at the Bistro. He'll perform at 8:30 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

"I've always thought about doing this," the busy Harris says. "Who wouldn't want to headline there? As their motto says, it's where the legends play. You want to be a part of that."

Harris slid into the Bistro after drummer Montez Coleman suddenly canceled.

"I was pretty excited. It happened so fast and so soon but, man, I'm ready," he says.

Harris figures it took him this long to be booked into the Bistro because his sound would never be considered straight-ahead jazz. He's the first to say he's not a jazz artist, though he gets classified as such because he's a horn player. His primary instrument is the trombone, although he also plays trumpet and tuba and more.

"I'm pretty eclectic, a combination of soul, hip-hop, R&B and go-go, with jazz mixed in," Harris says. "I definitely have jazz inside of me."

Harris says his Bistro shows, which will be recorded for an upcoming release, represent a journey through one's day and the the hustle-and-bustle it involves. The music, he promises, "will help you relax, and everything will tell part of that story. That's the way the show is designed."

He'll cull his selections from his jazzy, neo soul "Groove Therapy" CD, his upcoming retro-soul "The Here and After" EP and maybe even a gospel pick or two.

He'll be joined by James A. Jackson II on drums, John King on bass, Shawn Robinson on guitar, Corey James on keyboards, Dwayne "Jingo" Williams on percussion and CJ Conrad on vocals.

Tickets for Harris' Bistro concerts are $15. Copies of a limited edition of Harris' "Groove Therapy" CD, with five additional songs featuring Jada Avenue, Teresa Janee and Tyree Thomas, will be on sale.

On Feb. 5, Harris is opening for Keite Young at the Old Rock House. He continues to play the Delmar Lounge every other Wednesday and is a regular feature at Cafe Soul at Lucas School House on the third Friday of the month.

More information is available at or - St. Louis Post Dispatch by Kevin Johnson

"Lamar Harris Debuts at Bistro"

Local musician Lamar Harris was featured for his first headlining performance on the Bistro stage this weekend. The final shows will take place tonight (Saturday) at 8:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m.

A talented musician as well as an experienced producer, writer, and arranger, Lamar Harris began perfecting the trombone, slide trumpet, and the tuba at an early age.

He has opened and performed at the U.S. Jazz & Heritage Festival, St. Louis Art Fair, and with sought after entertainers such as Martin Luther, the Cab Calloway Big Band, Greg Haynes, Pieces of a Dream, Rebirth Brass Band, The Wooten Brothers, and Gotee Record Artists DJ Maj, Liquid and VERBS. The list continues with the likes of Biz Markie, Common, Doug E Fresh, Eric Roberson, Mos Def, John Legend, Musiq, Goapelle, The Last Poets and many more.

Harris incorporates a variety of musical genres to give his audience a coined experience: “gritty-soulful-talking horn,” which journeys them into jazz, hip-hop, R&B, go-go, spoken word, and inspiration. This experience is highlighted in his debut release “Your All,” as well as his sophomore CD, “Groove Therapy."

He will be performing selections from both CDs (more than likely sneaking in a few crowd favorites and standards) in his trademark Jazz with a hip-hop edge style. His unique interpretation and high energy will sureley keep audiences head nodding and hearts thumping with his “all the way” live performances.

The Lamar Harris Quartet will perform at Jazz at the Bistro (3536 Washington in Grand Center) at 8:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Tickets range from $10 - $15. For more information, call (314) 534-1111 or visit - St. Louis American

"US Bank Jazz and Heritage Festival 2006"

The U.S. Bank Saint Louis Jazz & Heritage Festival debuted in 2001, marking the first time this metro area—which has given the jazz world such luminaries as Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Jimmy Blanton, Oliver Nelson, Jimmy Forrest, Oliver Lake, Lester Bowie and many others—had an annual festival event dedicated to jazz. Based in the nearby St. Louis County suburb of Clayton at Shaw Park, the two-day event has had its ups and downs in terms of attendance since its debut. Last year’s low turnout was due in large part to the hot and humid weather conditions—torrid even for St. Louis in the summertime.
The Festival has also struggled a bit in finding the right combination between contemporary and smooth jazz acts and more straightahead and traditional fare. The 2006 event, held June 23-24, seemed to find exactly the right balance point in terms of its musical lineup, and also benefited from some amazingly balmy weather conditions with highs in the 80s, gentle breezes and low humidity on both days.

Friday evening’s main stage headliners, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Dr. John (pictured), focused attention on the rich tradition of New Orleans music—and the plight of Big Easy musicians in the wake of Katrina. Saturday’s lineup spotlighted David Sanborn, the Clarke/Duke Project and vocalist Lizz Wright. Fine sets by a host of top local musicians and singers at the Fest underscored the fact that the St. Louis music scene continues to produce fine talent.


The Preservation Hall Jazz Band lineup included many longtime regulars such as John Brunious and Frank Demond. But bassist Ben Jaffe, who has taken on the role of executive director of Preservation Hall as well as heading up the efforts of the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, was replaced by Walter Payton, Jr., father of Nicholas Payton and a mainstay on the New Orleans scene for many years. Payton brought a bit of bop flavor to the proceedings, quoting Monk’s “Straight, No Chaser” at one point in the concert. But for the most part, the band focused on predictable tunes such as “Basin Street Blues,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In”—which evolved into a second line parade by several of the musicians through the crowd, complete with a couple of costumed dancers in full New Orleans Social Club regalia.

Dr. John and his backing trio, Lower 911 (John Fohl on guitar, David Barard on bass and Herman Ernest III on drums), closed out the first night of the Fest with a strong set that spanned his lengthy career, from the early “Night Tripper” voodoo funk of “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” to covers such as “Dream” from his recent tribute to Johnny Mercer, Mercernary, and a funky take on Louis Jordan’s “Saturday Night Fish Fry.”

An emotive, Latin-tinged version of “Sweet Home New Orleans” received a strong response from the crowd, as did his own familiar hits, “Right Place, Wrong Time” and “Such a Night.” If the good Doctor had brought along a horn or two to add some accent and swing, things would have been perfect. But Dr. John and his backing trio did what they came to do.

St. Louis singer Denise Thimes opened Friday’s main stage performances, showcasing her fine voice on dynamic versions of “Peel me a grape," "Sunny" and “I Love Being Here With You.” On the much more intimate Soul School stage—a tented area seating approximately 300—pianist/vocalist Carol Schmidt and trombonist Lamar Harris both showcased bands filled with talented St. Louis musicians. Schmidt, a faculty member of the Webster University Jazz Studies department, featured other faculty members such as guitarist Steve Schenkel, Michael Parkinson on trumpet, bassist Rick Vice and Paul DeMarinis on sax—playing everything from Zappa, Wayne Shorter and Les McCann to original tunes. Harris, playing trombone and flugelhorn, led an eclectic group featuring talented vocalist Brian Owens and bassist Eric Warren through a set that mixed jazz with contemporary soul, funk and electronica.

SATURDAY - Jazztimes


"Your All", Lamar Harris and The L, 2005
"Groove Therapy", Lamar Harris, 2007
"Your All Remix", Lamar Harris ft Teresa Jenee, 2007
"Groove Therapy Limited Edition", 2008
"Live At The Bistro", 2008

"St. Louis Area Fellowship Choir", 2009
"Crazy" Liquid, Tales from The Badlands, 2006 Gotee/EMI
"Pressing On", Liquid, Tales from The Badlands, 2006 Gotee/EMI
"The Ghetto", Liquid, Tales from The Badlands, 2006 Gotee/EMI

"New Day", VERBS, Hip-Hope 2005, 2005 Gotee Records



Nu-Jazz/Soul/Real Music

Lamar Harris

Call it funky, call it jazzy, call it whatever you want, but Lamar Harris�s seamless blend of horns, electric sounds and vocals forms an explosive combination. A respected trombonist, producer, and arranger, Lamar has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the business such as Dwelle, Chico Debarge, Darion Brockington, Common, Musiq Soulchild, George Benson, The Roots, Algebra, Chocolate, Jaguar Wright, Pieces of A Dream, Martin Luther, Eric Roberson, Chrisette Michele, Earth Wind & Fire, The Dazz Band, DJ Maj, VERBS, Dr. John, BlackSpade, and many others.

Lamar Harris�s intensely creative sound soothes your ears with melodic, abstract sounds that leave you craving for more. Harris�s music forces your mind and soul inside the sounds, releasing your energy into a place of solitude and relaxation.

The 2008/2007/2006 Riverfront Times Best Funk/R&B/Soul nominee has performed and headlined at the The U.S. Bank Jazz & Heritage Festival, St. Louis Art Fair, Live On The Levee, The UMB Pavilion, First Night Celebration, STL TV 10, Jazz at the Bistro, and many other venues.

Lamar Harris incorporates a variety of genres as he gives his audience "gritty-soulful-talking horn," experience that journeys them into jazz, hip-hop, R&B, Soul, and Funk. This experience is all highlighted in his debut album, "Your All," as well as his sophomore CD, "Groove Therapy." His third release which is a fusion of Jazz/Soul and Electronica, �The Death of Love,� is to due out in Spring 2009

Lamar is featuring The Georgia Mae, which, among its band members, includes high school students from the St. Louis Area.

Lamar's music has been praised in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the Riverfront Times, and nationally recognized music websites such as -

For Bookings:

Oblique Motions
1531 Washington Ave Suite 3B
St. Louis, MO 63103