Greg Harris Vibe Quintet
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Greg Harris Vibe Quintet

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"Review of "Open Space""

The Greg Harris Vibe Quintet is equally adept at long, dreamy, ruminative pieces and more aggressive, driving numbers. As the name of the group suggests, Harris’ vibes are the focus of the music on Open Space—whether they take the lead or simply frame and define the space around the other players.

For example, bassist Rob Fahie fashions a series of fine, throaty statements on his composition “Lucid Dream,” on top of which Harris plays rolling and sparkling accompaniment. The effect is like nothing so much as the stars twinkling around the somber night sky. Fahie and Harris further conspire to conjure the slinking melody of “Long Corridors.” With a sheepish melodica from Harris, cautious guitar work from Matt Fuller, and skeletal, muted trumpet lines from Erinn Bone, the piece is like an extended tiptoe down the corridors of the title.

“Flank Fuzz” is the extroverted opposite of the two aforementioned titles. Drummer Bill Larson lays down a straightahead groove and the band piles on. Fuller plays some effective muted gasps that contribute markedly to the forward momentum of the piece. Harris emphasizes the speedy, gliding aspect of his instrument and foregoes the dreamy crystalline accents he brings to the more pensive performances.

The Greg Harris Vibe Quintet is a finely integrated band that does an admirable job exploring often winding and intriguing compositions. The results on Open Space are unfailingly lush and rich.

by Stephen Latessa

Reprinted with permission. Copyright (c) [2006] and [Stephen Latessa].
- Stephen Latessa -

"Review of "Open Space""

Vibraphonist Greg Harris is best known around here for his membership in Pete Wernick's Flexigrass, a quirky, innovative ensemble that blends jazz and bluegrass. Open Space, for its part, focuses on the former -- and while its musical blend is mellower and more conventional than the Live Five's, the results are just as noteworthy.
Harris is an egalitarian bandleader, providing plenty of opportunity for his fellows to shine. Indeed, trumpeter/flugelhornist Erinn Bone may get more spotlight time than the man whose name is above the title; that's certainly the case on "Reach," a Bone composition. Likewise, guitarist Matt Fuller steps forward throughout tunes he penned, including "Open Space Park." Yet the grooves are every bit as enjoyable as the solos on cuts such as "Flank Fuzz," during which Harris, bassist Rob Fahie and drummer Bill Larson create a backdrop every bit as intricate and intriguing as what's in the foreground.
Open Space overflows with good vibes, in more ways than one.

Denver, CO June 1st 2006 issue

- Westword Newspaper - by Michael Roberts

"Feature Article"

When Greg Harris says his experience studying abroad at CU changed his life, he really means it. The local multi-faceted musician - first and foremost a vibraphonist - went over to Ghana while studying his master's a few years ago, and he brought back to Boulder a musical panache and enthusiasm for tradition most listeners are unlikely to forget.

“Growing up in the suburbs, there's not a lot of diverse culture,” reflects Harris, a native of Littleton, Colo. “When I went over (to Ghana), you'd just be walking down the street and feel the centuries old traditions in everything. I got to see a lot of hard lives being lived.”

Harris, who turns 30 this month, has recently released an album, “World Citizen” with master xylophonist Aaron Bebe. He says the experience changed both his world perspective and rhythmic style as a percussionist.“I was the only obrunni (white boy) walking around over there,” he laughs. “I would go out late night to these small Muslim towns and take a xylophone lesson from a xylophone master guy. I stood out like a sore thumb but they were so inviting.”

The Ghana connection is only one of many musical outlets keeping Harris busy. The local musician performs live five to six nights a week with several different bands, teaches music to young adults, elderly and mentally challenged people, and still has time to create his personal free expression, in the form of Greg Harris Vibe Quintet.

In addition to the Vibe Quintet, which performs a free show as the Dairy Center for the Arts Sunday at 7 p.m., Harris also plays with local hip-hop/jazz/soul group Future Jazz Project and local bluegrasser Pete Wernick's Live Five/Flexigrass.

The unsigned musician has actually released four independent all-instrumental discs, including “World Citizen,” Greg Harris Vibe Quintet's “Open Space,” and a concept-based electronica album, “Prospector,” with Denver trumpeter Ron Miles and Russian producer Oleg Slepak. Those three ambitious percussion endeavors, all ranging in style in ambience, were aided by a grant from the CU Entrepreneurship Center.

“My grandfather was a great accordion player, and my mom was a whistler. I started playing guitar a lot; guitar was my main instrument for years and years,” Harris explains. But while an undergraduate at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Harris met his first real mentor/teacher, percussionist John Pennington. “I basically walked into the band room (one day) and I was leaning on the timpani drums, and John Pennington comes in and was like, ‘please get off the timpani drums,'” Harris recalls, laughing. “But that's how it all started. And then I delved into the whole percussion world.”

After the trip to Ghana - ethnic musicologist and CU professor Kwasi Ampene took the graduate student along as an assistant - Harris's drumming settled focus on West African and Caribbean music. Master xylophonist Bebe even traveled from Ghana to play with Harris in the U.S., and Harris has also toured Ireland.

Harris's respectable level of success just came from putting himself out there. In addition to his inundation of local gigs, he has also just inked a deal to distribute on iTunes.

“It was tough; there were a few months there where I could barely pay rent,” he says. “(But) we got a review in - a somewhat respected place to get reviewed - and since then, there's been people all over the world buying my CD online.”

In terms of live music, Harris says that an improvisational setting is ideal for the Greg Harris Vibe Quintet. The current band also includes Erinn Bone on trumpet, Matt Fuller on guitar, Rob Fahie on bass and Bill Larson on drums.

“We really thrive as a live band,” says Harris, who offers that audiences who come to see Sunday's show can expect anything from sorrowful instrumental pieces on the hurricanes and New Orleans, to fun, upbeat party beats, to some tunes influenced by old time blues.

The band, former regulars at the old Player's Club on Thursday nights, is excited to play the Dairy's East Theatre and promises a night full of extemporization.“This is our return to Boulder,” Harris says. “We kind of got down in the Denver thing, so we're kind of trying to reach back to where we came from.” The group follows up May 19 at renowned Denver jazz club Dazzle for a live recording. And what exactly should one expect to hear from a white CU grad who owes much of his musical prowess to the West African music and dance culture of Ghana? What exactly should one expect to experience or do while listening to Greg Harris's melodies?

“I would say like a creative time in your life. Creative moments. Or just really superficial, just cleaning your house, throwing a Frisbee, or painting or dancing,” he says, adding: “I'd say that people might be interested because they might never have heard a vibraphone in an exploratory setting. There aren't many vibraphone-led groups.”

From Boulder to Ghana and back
By ERIN WIGGINS For the Colora - Colorado Daily - Erin Wiggins

"Review of "Frames Live""

The Denver-based Greg Harris Vibe Quintet is an exciting ensemble performing original compositions in a contemporary jazz style that mixes sophisticated harmonic and melodic content with accessible, in-the-pocket grooves. On the groups latest release, Frames Live, vibraphonist/leader Greg Harris, guitarist Matt Fuller, trumpeter Erinn Bone, bassist James Calvin Thompson and drummer Bill Larson are captured in an intimate club setting where stunning individual prowess and sensitive interplay is fully exposed.

Harris, who contributes the bulk of the compositions, writes tunes that are riff-oriented and move in rhythmically unpredictable ways. The challenge proposed by tunes like "Flank Fuzz" and "Folklore" is for each soloist to successfully navigate the perplexities of the music in convincing ways. Fortunately, Harris, Fuller and Bone are all strong soloists with advanced harmonic understanding and lyrical sensitivity. The 3/4 bounce of "Lightness" provides the perfect backdrop for all three soloist to shine. An improvisational highlight of the disc is the intuitive free-form exchange between vibes, trumpet and guitar on "Calm Our Spirits." Thompson and Larson, aside from holding down one insatiable groove after another, are also inclined to moments of exploration. The dynamic rhythm duo sizzles on Bone's "Reach," an intense, up-tempo swinger.

Frames Live is a well conceived and brilliantly executed set that will appeal to a jazz audience of wide-ranging tastes. Harris and company are a forward thinking collective with an optimistic musical vision. This one pleads for repeated listening. - John Barron - Jazz

"Review of "Frames Live""

The Greg Harris Vibe Quintet is lead by Greg Harris, a musician who will be watched carefully in the next few years. He's involved in a number of other projects, so it seems it's more of a matter of keeping up with him. On Frames Live (GH Music), Harris and his band head off into a world heavily influenced by early to mid-70's jazz, imagine Roy Ayers, Ron Carter and Miles Davis deciding to hang out with the guys at CTI. The trumpet and flugelhorn work of Erinn Bone is very impressive, whether played straightforward or through effect pedals. His playing in "Lib Exploration" takes off but fades way too early at the 2:55 mark. James Calvin Thompson plays the stand up bass, and what I like about his playing is that he and drummer Bill Larson keep everything grounded while the others are allowed to play around and open up new doors.

The rhythm section keeps the funk down hard in "Flank Fuzz", with a sluggish guitar riff from Matt Fuller making itself known as Harris starts splashing his vibraphone all over the place. By the end he's playing what I think is the Xylosynth, and to my ears I thought it was some tape manipulation done live. The sounds Harris plays are just twisted, where it sounds as if he's putting his hand on the tape to stop it. The crowd reacts, perhaps half of them don't know what's going on or where exactly the sounds are coming from, but it's exciting to hear. Guitarist Fuller is pretty much reserved throughout the album, but gets a chance to show what he's about with his own composition, "Shepherd's Pi". I hear a bit of Pat Martino in his playing, and it's a solo without all of the pomp and flash, just pure class. It's all about Harris, but the songs are arranged to where everyone gets a chance to shine and be heard, whether it's in a ballad like "Shepherd's Pi", or a journey into the unknown as is the case with "Lucid Dream".

Harris' work with Future Jazz Project is more defined, with his own quintet the music is more open and being redefined continuously, making each listen different from the previous one. - John Book, Music For America

"Feature Article"

Colorado Native Greg Harris is a chameleon, involved in numerous projects and bands from Pete Wernick & Flexigrass to Future Jazz Project, the 9th & Lincoln Orchestra and his own Greg Harris Vibe Quintet. Early in life, he was exposed to music by his grandfather, who played accordion and many other instruments. Greg inherited these treasures and plays them often at work, where he teaches music to people with disabilities. A self-described "average crazy kid" growing up, he injured himself often via skateboarding, snowboarding, and BMX biking. He started taking guitar lessons in junior high school and from there, the music never stopped - with the exception of one year when he took a particularly bad spill off his bike.

Greg received a master's degree in Percussion Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, but his education didn't end there. In 2003, he went to Ghana to study with one of the greatest Gyil (West African xylophone) masters, Kakraba Lobi - an experience Greg says helped shape who he is today. Kakraba gave him the challenging first lesson of finding his house: take the Mamobi/Nima tro-tro, go past the lady that sells pineapples, and the house would be on the left. After several failed attempts, the third time was a charm when he asked some kids if they knew where the xylophone master lived. They took Greg by the hand "on an adventure through the village that (he) will never forget." Sadly, Kakraba recently passed away, but Greg hopes to return to the country one day and visit Kakraba's family. Greg also studied and befriended Aaron Bebe Sukura from the Dagaba tribe in Ghana (Dagaba and Lobi are the two main tribes there that play the xylophone). Greg has managed to bring Aaron to Colorado twice and hopes to again someday. They went on a small tour together during those visits and recorded 'World Citizen.'

While Greg has a particular attraction to percussion instruments like vibraphone and xylophone, he also plays marimba, Rhodes electric piano, drum set, frame drums from around the world, guitar, and turntables. His music projects are equally diverse: everything from jazzy bluegrass to hip-hop and world influences. Having toured in Ireland and travelled to Africa, he views himself as a student of the world and its music offerings. His global view coupled with his multicultural artistic endeavors make him a special part of Colorado's music scene. - Colorado Music Buzz - Laura McGaughey

"Review of Westword Showcase"

The 17-piece 9th & Lincoln Orchestra was next. Gilmore assembled some of Denver's finest musicians to interpret his and other Orchestra player's compositions, as well tunes he's arranged. Although sill in his in twenties, Gilmore proved, with this set, that he's got skills far beyond his years. And he isn't the only one. Greg Harris joined the group on vibes, while Paul Romaine laid down the funk backbeat on one song. Alto sax player Curtis Adams, guitarist Matt Fuller also did some first-rate work when called on to solo, as did trumpeter Brad Goode on Gilmore's original composition "Sketching Restraint."

Hands down, Harris earns the nod as hardest working musician at this year's Showcase. By the time he hooke up with 9th and Lincoln, the guy had already played two back-to-back sets with other groups, and his third set was with his own group, the Greg Harris Vibe Quintet. (He would also join the Bottissini Project in the next set). Harris said during the set that the group has been together for eight years, and they we all really good friends, which was obviously in their interplay with each other. They group opened with "Frames," the first track on his Frames Live, record live at Dazzle last year. Since it was already a bit hot in the room from the heat and the music, the group slowed it down on "Azalea," a tune written just a month ago and only being performed for the second time ever on Saturday. Guitarist Matt Fuller injected a few Bill Frisell elements into his solo, while the Quintet delved into a few other cuts from Frames Live and closed with slinky cut "Flank Fuzz."
-- Jon Solomon - Westword Newspaper - Jon Solomon

"Review of "Frames Live""

'Frames Live' captures percussionist Greg Harris' vibraphone-based jazz quintet live at a Denver nightspot. Their nine-tune set of contemporary originals draws inspiration from Miles Davis' jazz/rock fusion days of the 1970s as well as contemporary harmonic and rhythmic jazz trends. Supported by Matt Fuller (guitar), Bill Larson (drums), J.C. Thompson (bass) and Erinn Bone (trumpet/flugelhorn). Harris plays vibes, Fender Rhodes, and Xylosynth on the recording, and he has a mature, melodic solo style- no patterns, no tricks, just pure melody. His solo style seems to be derived more from pianists and horn players than vibraphonists. The use of the synthesizer and muted trumpet give some of the tunes a "psychedelic" 1970s Miles Davis feel, and the group changes up the feels from funk vamps to Latin, straight eighth-note feel and uptempo swing.
-Terry O'Mahoney - Percussive Notes

"Feature in Daily Camera"

"The tunes are so well-written that even the classical music junkies religiously attend the shows," says Jennie Dorris in the Daily Camera. "They have a lot of energy and know how to relate to a younger audience." - Daily Camera - Jennie Dorris

"Review of "Frames Live""

Greg Harris' group is cohesive enough that its members can create the rich matrix of "Frames." The composition's winding melody is played in unison by vibraphonist Harris and by Erinn Bone on muted trumpet, supported by James Calvin Thompson's pulsating bass lines and Bill Larson's energetic drum work for an engaging totality of effect.

Though Harris is the leader, his interests appear to lie in the unified group sound, for the vibraphone most often is used to provide chorded support or establish a change of mood, as he does when "Lightness" moves from a suspense-building free-rhythm introduction to a medium-tempo three-four theme. On the other hand, the members of his Vibe Quintet can individually contribute their own personalities to a piece when the occasion requires it. "Calm Our Spirits," for example, involves Harris' percolating introduction of dampened vibes bars, tentatively subdued and then gradually sustained. Then, after the three minute presentation of the theme, the musicians play freely. Harris goes dissonant, trumpeter Bone supplies jabbing accents and smears, and drummer Bill Larson breaks up the rhythm as the impressionistic compostion recalls Harris' reactions to the news of Hurricane Katrina.

Individually, each member of the group interprets the suggestions of "Lucid Dream." Harris' vibes develop the comforting melody with a glowing sheen, setting up the occasion for Bone's relaxed, engaging solo. Harris' instrumentation recalls some of Gary Burton's early work as he combined vibes with guitar, occasionally adding trumpet as Burton did with Tiger Okoshi.

Recognizing the crowd-pleading nature of the sound, the energetic nature of most of the original compositions remain extroverted, like the surging rhythm of "Flank Fuzz" or the anticipation of "Reach"'s beat before the extension of the long tones.

The crowd of Denver's Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge was pleased when Frames Live was recorded there, and with good reason. The music pulls in the listeners with its irresistible rhythms or heart-felt themes, and still its instrumentation remains distinctive and Harris' compositional talent remains challenging.

Bill Donaldson - ©Cadence Magazine 2007


GREG HARRIS VIBE QUINTET **new album** "Frames Live"



Greg Harris:

Prospector 'Memory of Pilots' with Russian producer Oleg Slepak feat. Ron Miles

Pete Wernick & FLEXIGRASS 'What the' - 2007 Niwot Records

Future Jazz Project 'True by Design' - 2007

Ninth & Lincoln Orchestra '9th & Lincoln' - 2007 Dazzle Records

'Rosenberg/Harris/Averitt - 2007 Majestic Ferret Records

World Citizen- Aaron Bebe Sukura and Greg Harris

'Frames Live' 'Open Space' 'Prospector' and 'Rosenberg/Harris/Averitt' are available on iTunes and CDBaby.

Flexigrass 'What the' is available @

Radio Play- Heavy Rotation on Jazz89 KUVO Denver, Rotation on KDUR Durango, KRFC Fort Collins, and 50 stations across the U.S.--also playing on stations in the U.K., Ireland, France, Italy and Greece



Fresh from releasing PROSPECTOR "Memory of Pilots" featuring Ron Miles, "World Citizen" with African master xylophonist Aaron Bebe Sukura, Colorado vibraphonist Greg Harris releases the Vibe Quintet sophomore Live album titled "Frames Live." The album showcases the group’s unique instrumentation through their high-energy, expressive, original songs. The Greg Harris Vibe Quintet were recently nominated for 'Best of Denver' in the Westword Newspaper.

Vibraphonist Greg Harris is a member of Future Jazz Project, Bluegrass legend Pete Wernick's Flexigrass, 9th & Lincoln Orchestra, and After Midnight Swing Band. He received a Master's in Music Performance, Percussion at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Greg has traveled and studied Ghanaian xylophone and drumming in West Africa. He has toured and recorded with West African master musician Aaron Bebe Sukura, and toured internationally with banjo legend Pete Wernick’s FLEXIGRASS.