Donald Harrison, Jr.
Harrison is a jazz saxophonist, bandleader, composer, cultural participant, singer, actor, master costume maker, custom furniture designer and guilder, inventor, and educator. Born in New Orleans, he grew up in a home environment saturated with the city's traditional music of brass bands, parades, modern jazz, and dance music.
In 1991, Harrison created "Nouveau Swing" – a style of jazz that merges modern dance music like hip-hop, soul, and Combined jazz with Afro-New Orleans traditional music on the critically-acclaimed album Indian Blues. The recording deepened Harrison's commitment to maintaining the offshoot rituals, call and response chants, and drumming alive for the next generation.
Harrison recorded Quantum Leap in 2012, which musicians and critics agree is a next step for jazz which melds cutting edge jazz with New Orleans funk – connecting the past with the present.
Harrison has performed with an illustrious list of distinguished musicians like Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Miles Davis, Lena Horne, Dr. John, and The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
He co-founded and became the artistic director for the Tipitina’s Intern Program, and The New Jazz school where he, along with a staff of his handpicked of seasoned veterans, teach jazz theory, music and history to students 13 to 21. He has taught and mentored many musicians such as trumpeter Christian Scott, guitarist Josh Connelly, bassist Esperanza Spaulding.
As an actual evacuee/survivor of Hurricane Katrina, Harrison appeared in Spike Lee’s HBO documentary When the Levees Broke. He appeared as himself and co-wrote the sound track for Rachel's Getting Married starring Anne Hathaway and Debra Winger.
His many awards include France's "Grand Prix du Disque", 2012 New Orleans Civic Award, and "The Ascona Award". Harrison was educated at Southern University and Berklee College of Music.