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A Perfectly Tuned Evening Every Time...
Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE BLOG
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
December 1, 2017

BarryHarrisDDJC

 

Detroit Jazz Master, Barry Harris,  playing the new Steinway at the Dirty Dog in 2014

 

 

Detroit has contributed many important musicians to the world of Jazz.  An impressive partial list includes drummer Elvin Jones, Trumpeter Donald Byrd, Pianist/Harpist Alice Coltrane, Vibest Milt Jackson, bassist Ron Carter, pianist Geri Allen, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and pianist/educator Barry Harris.

 

 

This week’s Jazz Notes blog pays tribute to Jazz treasure Mr. Harris who is respected worldwide as a gifted pianist, bandleader, composer, music theorist and educator. Harris, who turns 88 on December 15, was born in Detroit in 1929.

 

 

Barry Harris is considered one of the seminal Bebop pianists along with Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell and fellow Detroiters Tommy Flanagan and  Hank Jones. Jazz critics have called him the “keeper of the Bebop flame”.

 

 

Countless Jazz artists credit Harris for teaching them everything from Bebop improvisation to Jazz Theory and advanced piano technique. His understanding of Bebop theory enabled him to use this knowledge to codify the basics of Bebop improvisational structure to help musicians through the intricate steps of playing one of the most demanding Jazz styles.

 

 

His approach incorporates the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic styling of Bebop’s original architects – Charlie Parker and Bud Powell who helped develop this complex Jazz form that ushered in the post “swing” era, modern Jazz movement starting in the 1940’s.

 

 

He still conducts workshops on Jazz theory and Bebop improvisation techniques – sharing his long history and experiences with the music to the next generation of Jazz artists.

 

 

The people Harris worked with cover important years of Jazz history from the 1940s to the present. They include such notables as Dexter Gordon, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, John Coltrane, Max Roach, Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt and others.

 

 

Barry Harris was invited to play at the Dirty Dog in 2014 to christen their new piano, a seven foot, Steinway B grand. The piano was a gift from club owner and Jazz impresario, Gretchen Valade, who has played piano for many years and written many excellent Jazz songs as well.

 

 

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Barry Harris signing the inside of the new piano

 

Ms. Valade  had Mr. Harris flown in for this performance that also featured Ray Drummond on bass and Leroy Williams on drums.  This was a perfect way to celebrate the new piano by inviting one of the world’s great bebop pianists, Barry Harris – synonymous with the Detroit Jazz sound, to be the guest artist at this very momentous occasion.

 

 

It’s also quite rare for a Jazz club to have a “concert hall quality” Steinway grand in perfect condition and tuned on a weekly basis. The musicians love it!

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.

 

 

 

 

 

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