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I am soulful,swingin' singer! I love what I do and you will see it when I perform.
When considering the range of creative activities Ms. Lezlie Harrison has
embarked on, one could easily be reminded of the classical folk tale of
the five blind men who have encountered an elephant and are asked to
describe it. In the ancient story, each man, unaware of the totality of the
animal describes the part of its body they have come in contact with. For
one, feeling the beast’s leg leads him to believe that an elephant is like a
tree trunk, for another, holding its tail convinces him that an elephant is
like a rope, the long smooth tusks tells yet another that the mammal
resembles a plow, and on and on.
Likewise there are those that know Lezlie only from her years on stages
acting in plays with The Negro Ensemble Company or at New York
City’s Henry Street Settlement. Others might say “oh you mean the lady
on the radio?” referring to her years on college radio at Amherst, on the
country’s premier jazz station; WBGO, or as the nationally syndicated
blues voice for Sirius Satellite radio. Still others might recall “Je la
connais” if they were lucky enough to cross paths with Ms. Harrison
during her years living in Paris where she modeled and did commercial
In New York City, Lezlie’s hometown, she has been known for decades
as a co-founder of the culturally significant Jazz Gallery and as a
mainstay on the music scene. While mainly seen as a beautiful, erudite
and ineffably hip, friend and supporter of the same. She started to turn
heads when, slowly, in choice situations, she began to open her mouth
and let loose with that rich mahogany contralto voice nurtured in her
grandfather’s North Carolina church. Many on the Greenwich Village,
Brooklyn and Harlem Jazz scenes were pleasantly shocked. Why hadn’t
we heard her sooner? Lezlie has a simple response; “I always loved
singing but I was always intimidated by my friends” Those friends
included jazz legends like - Abbey Lincoln, Carmen McRae, Shirley
Horn and Betty Carter.
Lezlie Harrison harbors a strong sense of tradition, albeit a broad
tradition that makes room not only for those legends that doubled as
friends, but also for the legends she worshiped from afar. Such as the
Soul and R&B icons she followed on radio and on those precious “Soul
Train” Saturday mornings. She has harnessed all of her varied influences
and is now ready (an important stage in any artist’s development) to
document her first recording.
The Great American Soulbook, Vol.1 will feature the debut of some of
Ms. Harrison’s own compositions along with songs written by the likes of
Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan. Jazz standards will preside alongside
popular songs laced with gospel infusions and ballads that morph into
funk excursions. All anchored by the core group Lezlie has been
working with since 2005. Expect some appearances and instrumental
arrangements from some very special guests who have been “chomping
at the bit” for the opportunity.
The Great American Soulbook, Vol.1 will appear on Inner Circle Music, a
unique artist produced label that is the brainchild of renowned