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Take Five With Ric Harris

Ric Harris By

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Meet Ric Harris:
An article in Guitar Player magazine about the Old Town School of Folk Music caused me to leave North Carolina and move to Chicago. I caught Ira Sullivan and Joe Diorio at the Jazz Showcase one night and moved to Los Angeles to attend the Guitar Institute of Technology a few months later. I appeared in the Chicago area until 1991, at which time I retired and raised my children. Now that they are pursuing their own dreams, I am completing the project that started over twenty-five years ago.

Instrument(s):
Guitar.

Teachers and/or influences?
Joe Beck and Bill Evans.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I saw Ira Sullivan and Joe Diorio at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

Your sound and approach to music:
Music is entertainment, which is both fun and serious, that never forces someone to listen; instead, it seduces them, makes them want to listen.

Your teaching approach:
Focus on learning about all music, not just the jazz world, and do not concentrate on one person as a model for your playing.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
I realized how much my brain surgery was more than an impact on my past one night, while playing at club, when I could not remember the melody to one of the songs that I wrote. Luckily, I had the sheet music in front of me.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Coincidence, by Joe Beck and John Abercrombie is my favorite because it reintroduced me to the jazz world after a hiatus. The album offered me an approach to jazz standards with fresh arrangements and a lot of heart in my solos.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Persistence can get you anywhere.

Did you know...
I had brain surgery to control my epilepsy. Nearly all of the memories that preceded the surgery were lost. Both the ability to hear music and to see how things should be done in the mind's eye was lost. The seizures, however, are under control. Through persistence, I have regained the ability to make music. Consistency is no longer a guarantee, making today the only one that matters.

Desert Island picks:
Joe Beck & John Abercrombie, Coincidence (Whaling City Sound); Bill Evans, You Must Believe in Spring (Warner Jazz); Steps Ahead, Modern Times (Rhino/Warner Bros); Steve Winwood, Back in the High Life (Island Records); Steely Dan, Aja (Geffen).

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Treat it as a part of the entertainment industry, not the art world.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Ric Harris

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