© 2019 by WINARD HARPER.

MEDIA

“As tasteful a drummer as one could ask for” - JazzTimes

 

"Winard Harper is one of his generation's greatest standards bearers. Harper's goal seems plain and simple - propel the ensemble with a dynamic sense of swing" - Downbeat Magazine

 

“Winard is as pleasing and entertaining to watch as he is to hear,
as tasteful a drummer as one could ask for," Jeff Kaliss - JazzTimes

 

"an evening of fireworks with a sustained display of percussive pyrotechnics by Harper so rapid fire, so mind bogglingly dexterous, and so expressively diverse, as to be truly awe-inspiring" Franz Matzner - All About Jazz

 

"Winard Harper's wonderfully orchestrated solos alone might have forced a corpse to grin!" Mike Joyce - Washington Post

 

“The drummer gives the saxophonists some on Coexist, another round of sophisticated truth telling from Winard Harper that demonstrates high standards of musical excellence when it comes to expansive compositions, creative arrangements and choice of able bandmates” Philip Booth – Jazztimes

 

“Coexist is graceful, passionate, and swinging music from one of the world’s premier jazz drummers. Superb performances by Winard Harper s working band. Features guest performances
by legendary tenor saxophonist and flautist Frank Wess”
– Jazz Legacy Productions

 

“Everything builds on what is around as the values and traditions are passed down. From the African roots to today, many ingredients have been thrown into the pot…that includes the ground laid by the medicine men and messengers before us. Coexist speaks to these complex economic and social times. Winard Harper knows the tradition is about learning from the past, living in the present, and reaching to the future” – ejazznews.com

 

“This disc truly has the appeal of an instant classic.” “For now, get your hands on a copy of Make It Happen, and you’ll be able to say you were in on one of the year’s best releases way back in July” Marshall Bowden - Jazzitude

 

"... what really makes this record click is the tasteful diversity - it makes the 77-minutes go down pretty easy, which is saying a lot" Tad Hendrickson - JazzWeek

"Throughout the disc, crisply rendered solos and brief dialogues among the horns highlight the camaraderie of Harper's group, exemplifying the spirit of optimism and unity pervading this fine recording" Forrest Dylan Bryant - JazzTimes Magazine

 

"Drummer Winard Harper plays the kind of soulful music that puts the lie to the notion that uncompromising jazz can't feed both the head and the heart. On Make It Happen, Harper augments his high-energy hard-bop with an exploration of global rhythms and textures" Philip Booth - Down Beat

 

"There's no question the Winard Harper Sextet lives up to the title of their latest recording, Make It Happen.  These guys make it happen again and again, with a swinging set of high intensity jazz" Dave Miele - JazzImprov

 

"Diversified, creative, straight-ahead and world music are all wrapped up in this tight production, one that defies classification.  What kind of Jazz is this that the Winard Harper Sextet is recording?  It's fresh, lively, and serious all in the same exalted breath." Dee Dee McNeil - Cadence Magazine

 

"It's clear the polished band is having a blast thanks to Harper's galvanizing drive.  And yes, a talking drum can be right at home
in straight-ahead swing"

Jeff Potter - Modern Drummer

 

"As it is, the unflagging excellence of the compositions, arrangements and soloing (that's just about everything on a jazz record, isn't it?), added to the evident camaraderie of the players throughout, make for a strong and joyful entry under the “soulful/mainstream” heading" Jeff Dayton-Johnson – AllAboutJazz.com

 

“In the jazz idiom, very few master musicians have held the title of leader while pounding out the heartbeat of any great band behind the drum set since legends Art Blakey and Max Roach.Winard Harper, however, has proven since the late ‘80s to be one of the true great bandleaders who sits behind a drum kit while pushing his ensemble to explore international sounds ranging from African to Caribbean to Afro-Cuban, all wrapped around the core of Hard Bop jazz” Demetrius Patterson - Chicago Defender

 

“Overall, Harper’s methodology translates into a smashing success, brimming with a charismatic sound and scope, largely driven by finesse and sheer firepower” Glenn Astarita – Ejazznews.com

 

“…a wonderful recorded program with solid compositions excellently executed by fine musicians” Dick Bogle - The Skanner

 

“When drummer Winard Harper drives an ensemble, as he does on Faith, he immediately recalls the brilliance of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. The synergy created by Harper's flinty rhythmic attacks, rim-shots and fiercely swinging ride-cymbal and the swaggering, bluesy solos from his front-line horns are entirely Buhaina-like. As evidenced by the title track, Faith is steeped in Blakey's musical concepts: the tune intermingles piping-hot bebop intricacies with gospel-tingled grooves and Afrocentric vibes” John Murph – Jazz Times

 

“Exploring his African roots and jazz branches, drummer Harper kicks it good on the wide-ranging program that is the self named CD Winard. There's plenty to satisfy the most discriminating hard bop fan, and percussive spice that offers contrast” Michael G. Nastos – AllMusic.com 

“As tasteful a drummer as one could ask for” - JazzTimes

 

"Winard Harper is one of his generation's greatest standards bearers. Harper's goal seems plain and simple - propel the ensemble with a dynamic sense of swing" - Downbeat Magazine

 

“Winard is as pleasing and entertaining to watch as he is to hear,
as tasteful a drummer as one could ask for," Jeff Kaliss - JazzTimes

 

"an evening of fireworks with a sustained display of percussive pyrotechnics by Harper so rapid fire, so mind bogglingly dexterous, and so expressively diverse, as to be truly awe-inspiring" Franz Matzner - All About Jazz

 

"Winard Harper's wonderfully orchestrated solos alone might have forced a corpse to grin!" Mike Joyce - Washington Post

 

“The drummer gives the saxophonists some on Coexist, another round of sophisticated truth telling from Winard Harper that demonstrates high standards of musical excellence when it comes to expansive compositions, creative arrangements and choice of able bandmates” Philip Booth – Jazztimes

 

“Coexist is graceful, passionate, and swinging music from one of the world’s premier jazz drummers. Superb performances by Winard Harper s working band. Features guest performances
by legendary tenor saxophonist and flautist Frank Wess”
– Jazz Legacy Productions

 

“Everything builds on what is around as the values and traditions are passed down. From the African roots to today, many ingredients have been thrown into the pot…that includes the ground laid by the medicine men and messengers before us. Coexist speaks to these complex economic and social times. Winard Harper knows the tradition is about learning from the past, living in the present, and reaching to the future” – ejazznews.com

 

“This disc truly has the appeal of an instant classic.” “For now, get your hands on a copy of Make It Happen, and you’ll be able to say you were in on one of the year’s best releases way back in July” Marshall Bowden - Jazzitude

 

"... what really makes this record click is the tasteful diversity - it makes the 77-minutes go down pretty easy, which is saying a lot" Tad Hendrickson - JazzWeek

"Throughout the disc, crisply rendered solos and brief dialogues among the horns highlight the camaraderie of Harper's group, exemplifying the spirit of optimism and unity pervading this fine recording" Forrest Dylan Bryant - JazzTimes Magazine

 

"Drummer Winard Harper plays the kind of soulful music that puts the lie to the notion that uncompromising jazz can't feed both the head and the heart. On Make It Happen, Harper augments his high-energy hard-bop with an exploration of global rhythms and textures" Philip Booth - Down Beat

 

"There's no question the Winard Harper Sextet lives up to the title of their latest recording, Make It Happen.  These guys make it happen again and again, with a swinging set of high intensity jazz" Dave Miele - JazzImprov

 

"Diversified, creative, straight-ahead and world music are all wrapped up in this tight production, one that defies classification.  What kind of Jazz is this that the Winard Harper Sextet is recording?  It's fresh, lively, and serious all in the same exalted breath." Dee Dee McNeil - Cadence Magazine

 

"It's clear the polished band is having a blast thanks to Harper's galvanizing drive.  And yes, a talking drum can be right at home
in straight-ahead swing"

Jeff Potter - Modern Drummer

 

"As it is, the unflagging excellence of the compositions, arrangements and soloing (that's just about everything on a jazz record, isn't it?), added to the evident camaraderie of the players throughout, make for a strong and joyful entry under the “soulful/mainstream” heading" Jeff Dayton-Johnson – AllAboutJazz.com

 

“In the jazz idiom, very few master musicians have held the title of leader while pounding out the heartbeat of any great band behind the drum set since legends Art Blakey and Max Roach.Winard Harper, however, has proven since the late ‘80s to be one of the true great bandleaders who sits behind a drum kit while pushing his ensemble to explore international sounds ranging from African to Caribbean to Afro-Cuban, all wrapped around the core of Hard Bop jazz” Demetrius Patterson - Chicago Defender

 

“Overall, Harper’s methodology translates into a smashing success, brimming with a charismatic sound and scope, largely driven by finesse and sheer firepower” Glenn Astarita – Ejazznews.com

 

“…a wonderful recorded program with solid compositions excellently executed by fine musicians” Dick Bogle - The Skanner

 

“When drummer Winard Harper drives an ensemble, as he does on Faith, he immediately recalls the brilliance of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. The synergy created by Harper's flinty rhythmic attacks, rim-shots and fiercely swinging ride-cymbal and the swaggering, bluesy solos from his front-line horns are entirely Buhaina-like. As evidenced by the title track, Faith is steeped in Blakey's musical concepts: the tune intermingles piping-hot bebop intricacies with gospel-tingled grooves and Afrocentric vibes” John Murph – Jazz Times

 

“Exploring his African roots and jazz branches, drummer Harper kicks it good on the wide-ranging program that is the self named CD Winard. There's plenty to satisfy the most discriminating hard bop fan, and percussive spice that offers contrast” Michael G. Nastos – AllMusic.com 

N.J. neighborhood bar lets fans get up close and personal with giants of jazz

Jim Testa- Jersey Journal, April 2017 

 

Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin's resume includes gigs with Stevie Wonder, Missy Elliot, Alicia Keys and a host ofother superstars. But last Sunday night, you could have found her performing with the house band, chatting with the crowd, and jamming with the open mic regulars at a small neighborhood bar in Jersey City.

What's remarkable isn't that this happened, but that it happens every Sunday night at Moore's Lounge, as part of jazz great Winard Harper's "Meet the Artists" series.

Harper -- who cut his teeth drumming in the '80s behind greats like Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin and Betty Carter -- discovered Moore's Lounge (also known as Bill & Ruth's, after its founders Bill and Ruth Moore) back in 2010.

Harper first walked in the door -- located a few blocks off McGinley Square at 189 Monticello Ave. -- in 2010 and by the next year was leading the house band. Now he attracts local jazz aficionados and aspiring musicians - all races, all ages - to the small bar for weekly get-togethers that let the locals rub elbows with some of the giants of the genre.

"What we do here is very special and very rare," he told the crowd at last Sunday's show. "Please let people know what we're doing here so we can share this with even more people."

Bill Moore died a while ago, but Miss Ruth will still be there to greet you when you arrive at this modest neighborhood bar, with a smattering of cocktail tables and a small performance space in the center of the room. The bar keeps things simple - don't ask for a Bloody Mary. Beers are only $5, and the venue asks a modest $10 donation for the "Meet the Artists" series.

Sunday nights start with a set by the featured artist - last week, that was Lakecia Benjamin - performing with the excellent house band, which includes Harper on drums, Charlie Siegler on guitar and Mitch Dupont on stand- p bass. Then there's a "Question & Answer" segment, when the crowd can interact with the artist, and that's followed with an open mic, when anyone can sign up to jam on guitar, bass, trombone, trumpet or vocals.

Drummer Winard Harper sets a brisk tempo for younger musicians

Howard Reich - Chicago Tribune,  July 30th 2016 

 

Back in the late 1980s and early '90s, the Harper Brothers generated a great deal of buzz, a couple of Young Lions stoking an incendiary brand of hard bop.

Though the band broke up after a few years, drummer Winard Harper has remained quite the road warrior, taking his super-charged approach to music-making wherever listeners await.

These days, though, he's the mature master nurturing the next wave of Young Lions, just as he had been trained in the heat of battle by saxophonists Dexter Gordon and Johnny Griffin and singer Betty Carter, among others.

In jazz, one generation develops the next right up on stage, and those inspiring lessons were on full view Thursday night at the Jazz Showcase, where Harper performed with mostly younger musicians. For them, the evening was an education. For Harper,

a way of life.

Not surprisingly for anyone who heard the Harper Brothers in its heyday, Winard Harper stirred the sound of his sextet the way a cyclone churns up everything around it. Whether trading solos with band members or collaborating with the full ensemble, the fire and fury of his playing kept his proteges sweating.

Indeed, even if Harper had been alone in the spotlight, this would have been a gripping performance. The man revels in pushing tempos, juggling multiple rhythmic lines, hitting attacks quite hard and rarely dialing down intensity levels. Even when using brushes in ballads, his contributions remain vividly present and emotionally fervent.

The drum solo that opened the evening told the story, Harper summoning gales of sound without sacrificing precision of articulation. He seemed to draw upon every corner of his drum set in an extended statement before welcoming pianist Tadataka Unno and bassist Vince Dupont into the fray in Ray Bryant's "Reflection."

It didn't take long before Harper was challenging his young colleagues in a series of exchanges, offering them an avalanche of ideas to respond to. They were relentlessly tested and goaded, and when Harper had had enough, he launched into an extended cadenza that reminded listeners of the alacrity of his technique and the scope of his sonic power.

The full sextet roared forth in a Harper original, "God is the Greatest," its folkloric, Afro-Caribbean impulses expressed in multiple ways, starting with a simple, straightforward theme exclaimed in unison by saxophonist Anthony Ware and trumpeter Ted Chubb. When Harper and percussionist Kevin Jones conjured a riot of rhythm, most of the rest of the band joined in with hand-held percussion, the pulsing results saying a great deal about how Harper organizes sound.

The drummer paid homage to the figure whose image dominates the Showcase stage, Charlie Parker, by leading the band in Bird's "Segment" — and giving the young musicians a chance to come to terms with the principles and rigors of bebop. Here trumpeter Chubb and saxophonist Ware received potent lessons from Harper, who relentlessly forced his charges to try to keep up. Pianist Unno did best, providing glistening, fast-flying right-hand lines well suited to the occasion. But, of course, no one really could match the scale and ferocity of Harper's solo.

If the music proved pleasant but surprisingly light in George Cables' "Helen's Song," the band regained its footing with Duke Ellington's "In My Solitude," Ware playing gauzy lines on tenor saxophone and Unno offering a gossamer touch on piano. Though these young musicians clearly have a ways to go in matching their leader's tonal depth and complexity of thought, they're headed in the right direction.

"We need this music," Harper told the crowd toward the end of the set. "Especially with what's going on today."

That's for sure.

Winard Harper at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival
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