During the decades since rising to fame with the Three Sounds in the early 1960's, pianist Gene Harris always stuck true to his singular musical vision…the blues. A masterful pianist with a titanic technique, Harris' every chorus radiated the blues. His solos were melodic, accessible and swinging yet quite sophisticated and full of personal ideas, his own chord voicings, flavored with the church. While the listener has a good idea what to expect from a Gene Harris record, the pianist never fails to surprise.
Gene Harris was born September 1, 1933 in Benton Harbor, Michigan, where he was first attracted to music when he was four. Locally, Harris was attracted to the music of bandleader Charles Metcalf's group and was inspired to try to pick out songs on the piano. Harris also enjoyed the music he heard in church and the boogie- woogie records of his parents (one can detect Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons all over Harris' playing). Swing, gospel and blues combined in a humid eutectoid to form the rue of his piano style.
Harris quickly developed as a pianist, having many opportunities to play music while serving in the Army (1951 - 54). Following his discharge he originally formed the Four Sounds, who by 1956 abandoned their original plan to include a tenor-saxophonist and renamed themselves the Three Sounds. Joining Harris in the original line up of the band was bassist Andy Simpkins (1932 - 1999) and drummer Bill Dowdy (b. 1933).