Born: March 12 Primary Instrument: Piano
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 was born in Syracuse, NY and grew up in Hartford, CT. After graduating from UConn, she worked as a music editor and copyist in New York City, while pitching her original songs to publishers. Soon she found herself in the world of advertising music where she sang, arranged and produced music for commercials (Amoco, McDonald's, Kraft, Kellogg's, United Airlines, etc.) in New York and Chicago. After moving to Los Angeles, she composed, performed and produced over 200 music cues for ABC- TV's General Hospital, scored episodes of the animated Flintstone Kids, and provided original music scores and themes for such diverse projects as BBC-5's hit radio drama Milford-Haven, U.S.A. (Great Britain), Yogurt Variations for the New Britain Symphony Orchestra, the theatrical plays Sea Marks and An American Odyssey, as well as the audio book music scores to The Hidden Legacy, Stickeen, and the recently released Travels In Alaska. Marilyn has placed original songs in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of My Sister's Keeper, Sesame Street, and the award- winning short feature film T for Terrorist.
Marilyn's first CD release on Wrightwood Records, the jazz- pop Between the Lines (WRCD-1508) featured world-renowned musicians such as percussionist/drummer Mark Walker (Paquito D'Rivera & Oregon), guitarist Georg Wadenius (Blood, Sweat & Tears), bassist Steve Rodby (Pat Metheny Group), jazz trumpeters Orbert Davis, Bobby Lewis and Ron Friedman, saxophonist Steve Eisen (Styx), and Sinatra band members Mike Smith and Ron Kolber. In 1998 Marilyn joined Philip Ingram in the vocal duet of her song Like Love on BMG's release of Jim Brickman's Visions of Love.
Recently Marilyn expanded her musical scope by collaborating on 4 new CDs of meditation/relaxation music for Wrightwood Records: Koto Keys (WRCD-1516) & A Koto Keys Christmas (WRCD-1525) with kotoist Mara Purl, Winds on Ivory (WRCD-1521) with exotic woodwind specialist Phil Feather, and Unicorn's Journey (WRCD-1530) with harpist Stephanie Bennett.
Her last release Future Street (WRCD-1580) featured 11 great new songs with attitude - and wonderful instrumental solos by Wayne Bergeron, Warren Luening, Pete Christlieb, Dan Higgins, Bill Liston, Andy Martin, Bob Leatherbarrow, as well as a special vocal duet with Mark Winkler. Liner notes were by jazz songwriting legend Bob Dorough.
Marilyn's newest release Round Trip (WRCD-1569) features 10 great new Marilyn Harris songs (and 2 fabulous covers) - backed by the L. A. Jazz All-Stars Big Band (a gathering of the swingingest top studio cats in Los Angeles - led by producer/arranger Mark Wolfram) and wonderful instrumental solos by Bill Watrous, Pete Christlieb, Jim Fox, Dan Higgins, Warren Luening, Andy M artin, Don Shelton, as well as a special vocal duet with jazz songwriting legend Bob Dorough. Liner notes are by jazz DJ and journalist Neil Tesser.
Marilyn has given active service to many music industry organizations over the years (Board of Governors at N.A.R.A.S., S.G.A., Executive Board at L.A.W.I.M.), most recently serving as President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Jazz Vocal Coalition. She continues to be active performing musicology analysis and clearance for various clients in the legal, entertainment and advertising fields. Marilyn moderated a songwriting panel at the 2004 IAJE in New York City, participated on a songwriting panel at the 2005 IAJE in Long Beach, CA, and moderated a panel entitled Releasing Your Indie Jazz CD at the 2005 IAJE Regional in Chicago, IL. Recent performances include Birdland, Danny's Skylight Room and Cornelia St. Cafe (NYC), Davenport's (Chicago), Odette's (New Hope, PA), the Tucson Jazz Society Spring Concert Series (Tucson, AZ), the Las Vegas Jazz Society Fall Concert Series, and The Jazz Bakery, Spazio (Las Vegas, NV), and The Catalina Bar & Grill (Los Angeles).
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
Tracks: Round Trip;The Cards Keep Comin'; I Don't Gamble; Bebop High; If He Walked Into My Life; Way Out Here In The Country (aka New Kind of Country); That Afternoon In Harlem; Cool; Letting Go; The Wisdom of Sam Kinison; Twilight World; They're Gonna Love Me.
Personnel: Marilyn Harris: Piano & Vocals, Bill Watrous: Trombone, Bob Dorough: Vocals, Andy Martin: Trombone, Bill Liston: Tenor Sax, John Yoakum: Tenor Sax/Piccolo/Alto Flute, Don Shelton: Alto Sax/Flute/Clarinet, Bruce Otto: Trombone, Ralph Humphrey: Drums, Wayne Bergeron:Trumpet/ Flugelhorn, Charlie Loper: Trombone, Larry Lunette: Trumpet/Flugelhorn, Greg Huckins: Bari Sax/Bass Clarinet, Warren Luening: Trumpet/Flugelhorn, Peter Erskin: Drums, Charlie Morillas: Bass Trombone, Pete Christlieb: Tenor Sax/Alto Flute, Chuck Berghofer: Ac. Bass, Jim Fox: Jazz Guitar, Rick Baptist: Trumpet/Flugelhorn, Dan Higgins:Alto Sax/Flute, Mark Wolfram: Arranger/Producer
Year Released: 2004
Tracks: Dorothy Parker; Ain't Got Nothin' On You; Future Street; Sunglasses In The Rain; My Dissipation; In A Lonely Place; Express; Insomniac; Lost In The Stars; Don't Wanna Know; The Good Guys; Love Means Never Having To Say Goodbye.
Personnel: Marilyn Harris: Piano, Vocals & Arrangements, Dave Carpenter: Acoustic Bass, Bob Leatherbarrow: Drums & Vibes, Pete Christlieb: Tenor Sax, Wayne Bergeron: Flugelhorn, Larry Corbett: 'Cello, Mario De Leon: Viola, Dan Higgins: Tenor Sax & Flute, Piotr Jandula: Violin, Bill Liston: Bari Sax, Warren Luening: Flugelhorn, Andy Martin: Trombone, Bruce Otto: Trombone, Michelle Richards: Violin, Dave Stone: String Bass, Mark Winkler: Vocals, Mark Wolfram: Arrangements & Vocals
Between The Lines
Tracks: Only You; Extra Baggage; Forever; Mahina; Keeping An Open Heart; What I See In You; Perfected; Get It Up; Coney Island; Mine, Mine, Mine; Mr. Wrong; When I See Your Face; Between The Lines; Don't You Know Me?; I Say "I Love You".
Personnel: Marilyn Harris: Keyboards & Vocals, Jeff Layton: Guitar, Cliff Morris: Guitar, Russell George: Elec. Bass, Richie Crooks: Drums & Percussion, Mark Walker: Percussion, Dave Young: Alto Sax/ Flute/Oboe, Mark Wolfram: Arrangements/Production/E.V.I./Vocals, Georg Wadenius: Guitar, Steve Rodby: Acoustic Bass, Mike Smith: Alto Sax, Steve Eisen: Tenor Sax, Ron Kolber: Bari Sax, Bobby Lewis: Trumpet, Orbert Davis: Trumpet, Loren Binford: Tombone, Mike Young: Trombone, Billy Panda: Guitars, Ron Friedman: Trumpet, Bonnie Herman: Vocals, Cheryl Wilson: Vocals, Bob Bowker: Vocals, Gary Fry: Vocals, Arnie Roth: Concertmaster, Steve Grissette: Vocals, Mike Harvey: Vocals, Jeff Morrow: Vocals.
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