5 Questions: Allan Harris
Singer to perform at Scullers Jazz Club
Ever since he burst on the jazz scene, Allan Harris has reigned supreme as one of the most accomplished and exceptional singers of his generation. Aptly described by the Miami Herald as an artist blessed with “the warmth of Tony Bennett, the bite and rhythmic sense of Sinatra and the sly elegance of Nat ‘King’ Cole,” the ample and aural evidence of Harris’ multifaceted talent can be heard on his ten recordings. Harris is bringing his smooth sounds to the Scullers Jazz Club.
When did you decide to become a jazz musician?
Allan Harris: Growing up, jazz was always playing in my house. My mom was a classical pianist and loved jazz music. My aunt owned a little placed called “Kate’s Soul Food” and a lot of the greats would eat there, so you can say I did not have a choice. It was kind of expected of me to become a musician.
How has the sound of your latest album, “Nobody’s Gonna Love You Better,” evolved since your first album?
AH: A lot! I like to think that I am getting better with each new album [laughs]. With this album, I am a little more mature and schooled and was able to attract some like-minded musicians to help create the sound I was looking for.
What is your definition of jazz music?
AH: Jazz is an art form that combines the sounds that immigrants brought to the U.S. in the early part of the 20th century. It’s an expression of American people. It’s about where we have been and where we are going. Jazz allows us the freedom to experiment with its sound and make it our own.
Who has musically influenced you the most and why?
AH: Oh my! My mom started me off on my jazz career. Everything I know I learned from her. I love all the greats, but Louis Armstrong is my favorite. I loved how he took a melody and made it his own. I also loved how he made people happy.
What do you think about the resurgence of jazz music?
AH: As a jazz musician, I am so happy that it is making a comeback. For the longest time, it was a dying sound, especially in the early the ’80s and the ’90s. I love how the sound of jazz is being reinvented and new artists are revisiting its roots and bringing it back to life. It’s both exciting and wonderful.