Les Harris Jr. grew up in Newburyport, MA and is a 1983 graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Les is currently a music faculty member at the University of New Hampshire (since 1989), the University of Southern Maine (since 1990), and Phillips Exeter Academy (since 1989),teaching drums and ensembles. Les is the son of retired Berklee College of Music professor and jazz drummer Les Harris Sr. The elder Harris studied drums with George Lawrence Stone and was the house drummer at George Wein's Storyville Club in Boston during the late 50's as a member of the Boots Mussulli Quartet featuring Toshiko Akiyoshi on piano and Gene Cherico on bass. Les Harris Sr. taught at Berklee from 1967-1995.
Les Harris Jr. began playing the drums at a young age under the tutelage of his father. He was sitting in with jazz greats Herb Pomeroy, Bob Wilber, Dave McKennna, John LaPorta, and Teddy Wilson by the time he was 14 and began playing professionally at the age of 15, working Friday nights with pianist/vocalist Annie Bosteels and trumpeter Dick Creeden at The Sportsman's Lodge in Newburyport, MA.
While attending Berklee, Les studied with Joe Hunt and Robert Kaufman and upon graduation, he studied extensively with legendary drummer and educator Alan Dawson. From 1983-1995, Les was the drummer with the jazz vocal group, The Ritz, appearing on seven recordings,(five on the Denon label, two on Pausa). As a member of The Ritz, Les performed at The Sea Jazz Festival in Finland, The Blue Note Jazz Clubs in Tokyo, Fukuoka, Jakarta and NYC, The New Morning Club in Paris, George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival in Japan as well as engagements in Singapore, Italy, Germany, Morrocco, Vienna, and throughout the United States and Canada.