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Geller Jazz Series: Donald Harrison Quintet

April 19, 2023 @
7:30 p.m.
Eastern Time
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Click here for tickets ($20 general admission/$10 with Clark ID)

“I’ve heard that New Orleans is the northernmost Caribbean Island, but I like to think of New Orleans as a part of America… I feel like I’m the embodiment of the whole lineage of the music.” – Donald Harrison, Jr.

The Geller Jazz series is thrilled to welcome New Orleans-born saxophonist Donald Harrison to campus. Harrison is a master of every era of jazz, soul, funk, as well as orchestral classical music. As Big Chief of Congo Square in Afro-New Orleans culture, he shares that unique New Orleans jazz with the world and adds to those traditions by creating influential styles such “nouveau swing” (a blend of jazz with R&B, hip-hop, rock, and soul) and a modern second-line.

His dedication to preserving the music and culture of New Orleans has been crucial to assuring that this important legacy survives. In 2022, these efforts were recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) with Jazz Masters Fellowship, the highest honor that our nation bestows on jazz artists. This award recognizes living legends who have made exceptional contributions to the advancement of jazz and for Jazz Advocacy. With a hard-swinging improvisational style, Harrison has played in the bands of Roy Haynes, Jack McDuff, as well as in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, as well as with fellow New Orleans native, trumpeter Terence Blanchard. He has performed and recorded with distinguished musicians such as Ron Carter (including at the inaugural Geller Jazz concert in 2014), Billy Cobham, Miles Davis, Lena Horne, Eddie Palmieri, the Notorious B.I.G., as well as with the powerhouse jazz group the Cookers.

Donald Harrison’s Quintet features Brian Richburg Jr (drummer), Noriatsu Naraoka (bass), Dan Kaufman (piano), and Detroit Brooks (guitar).

For our opening set we’re thrilled to welcome to the stage in the Traina Center, Cuban-American pianist/composer Fabian Almazan with his quartet featuring Adam O’Farrill (trumpet), Linda May Han Oh (bass), & Henry Cole (drummer).

Almazan found his musical roots as a child in Havana where he first became involved in the classical piano tradition. He has developed a personal voice through the electric manipulation of the acoustic piano in studio settings as well as live concerts with artists such as Linda May Han Oh, Terence Blanchard, Gretchen Parlato, John Hollenbeck, Mark Guiliana, Dave Douglass, Avishai Cohen and Ambrose Akinmusire among others.

An environmentalist and naturalist, Almazan recently travelled back to his birthplace where he made field recordings of endemic Cuban birds which were then Incorporated into his most recent album as a leader, “This Land Abounds With Life.” He is the founder and director of Biophilia Records. Biophilia means “an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems.” Almazan’s awards include 2 Grammy nominations, the SWR New Jazz Meeting commission, the Copland Fund, the Jerome Fund for Emerging Composers Award, the Jazz Gallery Residency, Rockerfeller Brothers Residency, Cintas Foundation Award in Composition and the Sundance Composers’ Lab.

Selma Geller was a New York City philanthropist who died in 2007. She was deeply concerned about the lack of musical educational opportunities available to the current generation of students. Her gifts to Clark University for music scholarships and musical performances are a testament to her desire to bring the original American musical art form to the Clark community.

Other events in our series:

Sunday, April 16, 2023, 7:30pm
SUBA Trio — Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita, featuring Gustavo Ovalles
Razzo Hall, Traina Center for the Arts
Tickets required ($20 general admission/$10 with Clark ID)

Monday, April 17, 2023 @ 7:30pm
Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums, a new documentary
A Q&A with Soren Sorensen, Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita will follow the screening
Free and Open to the Public
Reservation required

You may also purchase a ticket for all three events in the Geller Jazz: Havana to New Orleans series ($30 general admission/$12 with a Clark ID)


April 19, 2023
7:30 p.m.


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