Born: March 12
Singer-pianist-songwriter Marilyn Harris boasts an enviable jazz pedigree. After studying composition with Hale Smith at UConn and film scoring with Ray Wright and Manny Albam at Eastman School of Music, Marilyn worked extensively with jazz arranger Gil Evans and studied piano with Richard Tee and Rodgers Grant. Her talents have graced not only her own recordings, but a wide variety of other artists' work including co- writing a gold record with Jim Brickman, doing arrangements for Bette Midler, Lola Falana and Donna McKechnie, and her songs have been covered by jazz vocalists Anne Marie Moss, Jackie Paris, Claire Martin, Bobbe Norris, Judi Silvano and Diane Hubka....
Marilyn Harris, one of the last of the true practitioners of hipness, has blessed us with another quality CD. Backed by the wonderful L.A. Jazz All-Stars Big Band this CD always rocks, swings and knocks it out of the park . . . This CD belongs in the library of anyone who loves great writing and singing talent. - Peter La Barbera, Jazz Zine
No question about it, ROUND TRIP is an entertaining and compelling recording that showcases a superb performance by one of the best jazz vocalists in the business today...A disc that will appeal to anyone who likes music. - Edward Blanco, eJazzNews.com
Vocalist Marilyn Harris' latest release features a healthy supply of good time swing and blues. Featuring some of Los Angeles' finest musicians, ROUND TRIP finds Harris in excellent form. Her cheerful voice is perfectly suited for large band ensemble work...mainstream vocals are taken on an excellent journey on Harris' ROUND TRIP. You should take the ride, too. - George Harris, All About Jazz - L. A.
Marilyn Harris knows how to write songs - clever songs, knowing songs, novel songs, heartfelt songs (ten of which appear here) - but some of you already know this from her previous discs. What you may NOT know is that Mark Wolfram, her onstage-offstage partner, writes big, colorful arrangements: he mines the jazz orchestra for the range of colors and textures that Harris' songs inhabit so well. Blend in the all-star big band you hear here, alloyed by the hand- picked guest soloists, and how can you lose? - Neil Tesser, Co-host Listen Here!
In addition to Marilyn Harris' non-forced, no nonsense, all grown up voice, this album shines due to some great, new, swinging tunes. These are songs the way songs used to be written, with clever, intelligent lyrics and actual strong melody lines that go right where they should . . . This is a very well conceived album of excellent tunes by a voice who, it should be said, gets it. - Jazz Society of Oregon
There is a strain of jazz singer that focuses on jazz's urbane tendencies, alternating between a well- honed cynicism and raucous playfulness in much the same way that Irving Berlin and Hoagy Carmichael did. Singer Marilyn Harris runs in this fast crowd, often writing her own clever wordplay and sometimes the music as well. Here, joined by a studio big band and even guest singer Bob Dorough, Harris creates a skilled program where her wit is matched by tight arrangements that emphasize each punch line. Highlights include an ode to bebop entitled Bebop High, her cutting They're Gonna Love Me (which mocks jazz's tendency to embrace dead legends), and the altogether upbeat Round Trip. While Harris easily won over the JazzWeek attendees with her solo performance, couching crisp clean voice in these big band arrangements adds an undeniable punch that should win over the rest of the radio panel. - Tad Hendrickson, JazzWeek
ROUND TRIP would be worth the price for the L.A. Jazz All- Stars alone. As a bonus, we get a terrific singer/songwriter, Marilyn Harris, who wrote or co-wrote ten of the album's dozen selections and uses her pleasing mid-range voice and effervescent personality to amply enliven every one of them . . .Harris writes clever lyrics that call to mind Dave Frishberg, Mose Allison, Jon Hendricks, Dave Lambert, Blossom Dearie, Giacomo Gates and Bob Dorough (with whom she duets on one of her compositions, Cool) . . her voice is crystal clear, her intonation solid and her diction flawless . . . Dorough, by the way, nestles in so snugly on Cool that one could believe he had written it himself. There's one more engaging duet, with producer/arranger Mark Wolfram on Way Out Here in the Country. Elsewhere, Harris is on her own, and throws herself eagerly into every song . . .it's a great band, showcasing seasoned pros in every section, precise ensemble work, nice charts and brief but crackling solos by the likes of tenor Pete Christlieb, altos Dan Higgins and Don Shelton, trombonists Andy Martin and Bill Watrous, trumpeter Warren Luening, guitarist Jim Fox and bassist Chuck Berghofer. The songs are consistently clever and refreshing, from the opening Round Trip to The Cards Keep Comin', I Don't Gamble, Bebop High, The Wisdom of Sam Kinison and They're Gonna Love Me, Marian McPartland/ Johnny Mercer's tender Twilight World and the others already noted . . . this is a splendid album by a wonderful singer and band, one that is easily recommended. - Jack Bowers, All About Jazz.com
I'm playing ROUND TRIP for a second time with no pause in between plays. It's REALLY good! The tunes are crisp and engaging, and the musicians and arrangements add a real level of class to the production. - Steve Emerine, President - Tucson Jazz Society
Your new CD (ROUND TRIP) is wonderful! I absolutely love it! On every level; performance, production, composing, arranging, choice of material....EVERYTHING! It's GREAT! - John Nasshan, Jazz DJ at KUNV 91.5FM Las Vegas
The Marilyn Harris experience continues its giddy, inexorable rise towards unchartered peaks. This road show is warm, funny, riotous and crispier than the perfect French Fry. In a perfect world, everybody would know her songs by heart. This world's lucky to have her. - Gene Seymour, NY Newsday
The amazing thing about FUTURE STREET is not only the remarkable writing and singing abilities of Marilyn Harris. It goes beyond fine arrangements and solos. The lyrics to these songs are hip and they swing like mad. This music goes beyond the boundaries of music alone. There are stories here to make you smile, make you feel good and to even shock you. I hope this is just the start of more to come from this gifted artist interpreting it all from humor to pathos through the magic of her song. - Peter La Barbera, Jazz Zine
Marilyn Harris, a very talented lyricist-composer, has a highly appealing voice, is a fine pianist and shows both sensitivity and great wit in her lyrics. FUTURE STREET has 11 of her best songs including several (including 'Dorothy Parker,' 'Future Street,' 'Insomniac' and the very funny 'My Dissipation') that should become future standards. - Scott Yanow, Author of Jazz On Record 1917-76
The songs!!! They're smart, funny and lyrical with great heart. All the things I wish I could be when I grow up! Keep on doing what you're doing! Sounds to me as if you're doing it right. - Gene Seymour, NY Newsday
FUTURE STREET is superb! The singing and playing, the arrangements and the band, all were just great! And from you, I would have expected nothing less. Congratulations to everyone who had a part in making this the terrific musical document it is! - Marvin Stamm, Jazz Trumpet Legend
A significant songwriter and performer whose career has often stretched far beyond jazz, Marilyn Harris is a witty writer and an enjoyable singer-pianist. ROUND TRIP (Wrightwood 1569), which matches her with some of the top musicians in Los Angeles, is her most jazz-oriented recording so far. - Scott Yanow, from his book THE JAZZ SINGERS: The Ultimate Guide
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