Born: December 31 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor
With the release of his first solo CD, KEEPING MY COMPOSURE, on C3 Records, composer, arranger and conductor Charley Harrison, is poised to join the ranks of the composer/ arranger/conductors that have helped chart the course of jazz.
A Chicago native, Harrison was appointed Director of the UCLA Jazz Orchestra in 2004, while still serving, since 1991, as Associate Director and guitarist for the eighteen-piece Chicago Jazz Orchestra. CJO is currently backing his CD of original material and jazz standards, with guest performances by vocalists Freddy Cole, Kurt Elling, Sara Gazarek and CJO’s Frieda Lee, guitarist Bobby Broom and pianist Cedar Walton, among others.
His multi-dimensional orchestral arrangements meld modern, classic swing, Latin and contemporary jazz elements. Last year, his adventurous interpretation of Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE, won him a rave review in the Chicago Tribune, which stated, “Writing rhythms that press relentlessly forward, weaving New Orleans street beats and bebop- tinged passages…the last few bars…utterly unexpected, planted the piece firmly into the 21st Century.”
A graduate of Northwestern University, Charley has also attended Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music. Charley honed is composition skills in the advertising industry for diverse clients that included McDonald’s, the Chicago White Sox, Chuck E. Cheese and Bissell Vacuum Cleaners.
In 2000, composer/producer/jazz artist Marcus Miller recruited him to score THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN for Sony/TriStar. The two then went on to collaborate on THE LADIES MAN for Paramount and ONE LOVE for Spyglass Entertainment. Charley also lent his transcription and orchestration talents to Miller’s 2002 Grammy award winning album M2. Recent highlights in the new millennium include scoring writer/director Steven Gary Banks’ comedy HEAD RUSH; orchestrating and conducting Kenny Burrell’s RALPH BUNCHE SUITE, an extended work for jazz orchestra with featured soloists; and contributing arrangements to FROM CHRISTMAS EVE TO CHRISTMAS MORN for Tony nominee Brian D’Arcy James.
A rare breed of composer, Charley Harrison, is equally skilled with a baton in front of an orchestra or behind a computer in a studio full of synthesizers. His music has been enjoyed on the silver screen, the TV screen, and featured in symphony halls and nightclubs, nationally and internationally.
Los Angeles, CA
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.