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Michael Joseph Harris

In 2012, after years of performing mostly Brazilian and Latin influenced original music, guitarist Michael Joseph Harris began studying and playing the music of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt which led to the creation of The Hot Club of Baltimore later that same year. Harris then formed the band Ultrafaux in 2014 to perform his original Gypsy Jazz compositions. In 2015, Harris founded and remained Artistic Director for Charm City Django Jazz Fest which is the only annual Jazz festival in Baltimore, Maryland. Michael was named one of the top ten musicians by Baltimore Style Magazine and he was featured on a full spread article in The Baltimore Sun Weekend Section as well as Baltimore Magazine.

Harris has self-produced 8 full-length Reinhardt-inspired recordings with both groups since 2014. Harris’ songs Latcho Dromo and Signs of Struggle were chosen to be included on an International compilation of the best Gypsy Jazz in the world produced by Jon Larsen called Django Festival #9 & #11. Hot Club of Baltimore’s recording of Place de Brouckere was featured on Django Festival #10 making Harris one of the only artists featured consecutive years. Michael’s most recent album Tangent introduces a larger Ultrafaux Ensemble, comprised of top guest artists from the jazz, folk, and bluegrass scene including Jason Anick, Patrick McAvinue, Giacomo Smith, Connor Stewart and Dallas Vietty.

Michael Joseph Harris and Ultrafaux have performed at Festival Django Reinhardt in Fontainebleau, The Kennedy Center in DC, Charm City Django Jazz Festival in Baltimore, Django by the Sea in Maine, Django-A-Gogo in New York, The Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival in Wisconsin, Napa Valley Jazz Society in California, Djangoary in Virginia, Django Birthday Festival in Asheville North Carolina, Valhalla Boathouse Theater in South Lake Tahoe, Red Poppy Arthouse in San Francisco, Jazz Club Lyon St. Georges in Lyon France, Art Base in Brussels, and IMT Folk Series in Maryland, and they continue to tour the United States, Europe, the UK and Canada. In 2018, Harris performed at Preston Jazz and Improvisation Festival in England with violinist Daniel John Martin and will be returning to perform again there in June, 2020.

EARLY YEARS:

Michael began playing guitar at the age of 12 and quickly became skilled in jazz by age 16, winning accolades as guitarist with the Downbeat Magazine award-winning Chantilly High Jazz Band. Harris learned many styles of guitar playing by ear and through private instruction with guitarist Rick Whitehead of the Airmen of Note during high school, then later with the legendary Jazz educator Jack Petersen at North Texas State University. The young guitarist favored learning by experience to the structure of formal education and soon began performing non-stop with his own projects in various styles including straight ahead jazz, original rock, funk, fusion, blues, Latin, Brazilian, and jam band music influenced by the style of Congolese guitarist Franco.

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Tags

"We sometimes forget that jazz was first and foremost a people's music meant for dancing and socializing. One evening with Ultrafaux demonstrates why jazz has been so irresistible to listeners all over the world." — Ken Avis, BJA

“Ultrafaux's original compositions compare favorably to classic Hot Club tunes. They update the tradition and bring the swing into the 21st century.” — Paul Hartman, Detour, WTMD

“Ultrafaux breathes new life into jazz, while holding onto the sense of nostalgia that makes this genre so timeless and appealing in the first place. This is music you didn’t know you were missing, and it’s wonderful to hear it anew.” — Sam Sessa, Hit Parade, WTMD

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Primary Instrument

Guitar

Location

Baltimore

Willing to teach

Advanced only

Credentials/Background

Michael Joseph Harris currently only teaches in the style of Gypsy Jazz. Limited weekly lessons are available and charged by the month. Skype lessons are $240 per month for one hour per week. One on on lessons are $300 per month for one hour per week. Currently teaching on Mondays until 6PM.

Clinic/Workshop Information

Facilitator and teacher of Gypsy Jazz style while on tour. Anything ranging from workshops in private homes to theater spaces or auditoriums.

Photos

Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Tangent

Swing Underground
2020

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Coquette

Self Produced
2016

buy

Videos

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