Winard Harper & Jeli Posse offer up an exuberant, swing savvy, world flavored journey into jazz. Harper has an uncanny ear for talent and features extraordinary up and comers in the jazz apprenticeship tradition. The current octet combines rhythm section, horns, vocals and african percussion with soul stirring results.
(photo credit: Santa Istvan Csaba)
Harper's own apprenticeship has taken him around the world. It includes playing and recording with many greats, including Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Dr. Billy Taylor, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, and Dexter Gordon. His influences include Jackie McClean, Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Cannonball Adderley, and Billy Higgins.
The Baltimore native, born in 1962, got an early start with the help of his father and older brother, Danny. By age five, he was making guest appearances in the club. He recalls an epiphany while listening to recordings. "I was fascinated hearing Max do the things he did with percussion of all types," he recalls. “I knew then I had to play Jazz.”
Winard co-founded the internationally acclaimed Harper Brothers with trumpeter sibling, Philip in the 80's. Their paths diverged in 1993. In 1994 Winard's sextet recorded Be Yourself on the Epicure label and continues to record and perform nationally and internationally. His latest release, Coexist rapidly ascended to Jazzweek's Top Ten.