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Bruce Harris with the John Toomey Trio at Attucks Theater

Mark Robbins By

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In 1990 Spike Lee's movie, Mo Better Blues, was released. A young Bruce Harris watched the film about the turmoil surrounding a jazz trumpeter and his quintet and in the next 129 minutes his love of the trumpet was born.

From performing in the "Essential Ellington" jazz band competition while in high school to a BA and Masters in Jazz Performance from the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College to stints at Smalls, Smoke Jazz Club, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Minton's and many more, Harris was named by Wynton Marsalis as one of the 5 important young jazz musicians you should know. Hearing him at the Attucks Theater with the John Toomey Trio you could see why. Backed by John Toomey on piano, Eric Harper on bass and Brian Jones on drums, Harris jump started the audience with an original "So Far, So Near" letting the sold out house know that all the accolades he has been receiving are well deserved. Playing a varied program of well known and not so well known pieces, (Monk's "Ugly, Beauty" and "Ask Me Now," Dizzy Gillespie's "and then she stopped," Gus Kahn and Walter Donaldson's "My Buddy," Clifford Brown's "Delilah," Harold Arlen's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" which started out as "Night in Tunisia," Bud Powell's "Una Noche Con Francis" and a beautiful arrangement of Faith and Kehner's "Snowbound," a favorite of his grandmother and played in her honor).

In between songs Harris talked a little about what he was about to play, joked with the audience, and reminisced about growing up in a house always filled with music, just not the rock and soul he wanted to hear. For close to two hours Bruce Harris showed his chops and proved Marsalis's prediction, he is a jazz musician you should know.
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