WESTERLY — Last week Jon Batiste, the enchanting leader of the group Stay Human — the house band of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert — led a street parade full of jubilant fans out of the Knick and onto Railroad Avenue. This week, Bruce Harris, one of the young cornerstones of Manhattan’s Jazz at Lincoln Center — a trumpeter who has been praised by greats like Wynton Marsalis — will take the stage at the United Theatre to perform for local music-lovers.
Harris, who was born and raised in the Bronx, has earned a reputation as one of the most important voices in jazz today. In an interview, Harris said that his love for music began in his home, where the sounds of his grandfather’s alto saxophone and New York's storied music traditions of bebop and hip-hop consumed him. Inspired by acclaimed director Spike Lee’s “Mo Better Blues,” Harris became enamored with the trumpet, and at the age of 13 his musical journey began.
Heavily influenced by Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown and Dizzy Gillespie, Harris performed in the “Essentially Ellington” jazz band competition as a high school junior, earning the opportunity to play alongside famed trumpeter and jazz historian, Wynton Marsalis. Harris went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in jazz performance at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, where he was mentored by trumpet virtuoso Jon Faddis.
Harris has been featured in two Broadway shows, “After Midnight” and “Shuffle Along” and has performed with the likes of Fantasia Barrino, Patti Labelle, KD Lang, Tony Braxton, and Audra McDonald.
A favorite with local audiences, Harris draws a large crowd.