Lafayette Harris’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Known as the “go to” pianist by other musicians and band leaders, in the last year alone, Lafayette has performed on Broadway with the THE COLOR PURPLE, toured Europe with Ernestine Anderson, played the wedding for the daughter of ABC “World News Tonight” host, Charlie Gibson and helped raise money for children with cancer in Columbus, OH. Alongside these have been Lafayette’s regular appearances at New York’s Blue Note and weekly open mic session that he hosts at the historic Lenox Lounge in Harlem, widely regarded as the “best vocal jam session” in the city by New York’s weekly listing guides. In between all this, Lafayette has managed to record two new albums in the last year � TRIO TALK, a jazz trio outing and a contemporary funk/fusion project, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.
However, before the A-list musician lifestyle, Lafayette’s formative years were spent in Baltimore, laying the foundation to his craft at church and in private tutelage. By the time he hit his teens Lafayette was a regular on the local Top 40 scene, playing in bands that covered all the classic R&B and funk of the day by acts such as the Ohio Players, Parliament/Funkadelic, the Gap Band and more. However, Lafayette’s heart was very much rooted in jazz and his real hero was fellow Baltimore native Eubie Blake. After hearing Blake play Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” Lafayette was determined to perfect it. He augmented his live work with hard study, receiving a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and then going on to study with master pianist Kenny Barron at Rutgers University in NJ, where he earned a Masters in Jazz Performance.