Harper summarizes Jeli Posse's swing savvy, world spiced flavor when he shares, “Everything builds on everything as the values and traditions are passed down. From the African roots to today, many ingredients have been thrown into the pot. The band continues to expand on the the ground laid by the medicine men and messengers before us.
Harper's lifelong jazz apprenticeship has taken him around the world. It includes playing and recording with many greats, including Betty Carter, Johnny Griffin, Dr. Billy Taylor and Dexter Gordon. Influences include Jackie McClean, Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Cannonball Adderley, and Billy Higgins. Higgins had a big impact on me as a person and musician. He played with such joy. He saw jazz as spiritual and social work and walked the talk.
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Winard Harper is one of his generation's greatest standards bearers. Harper's goal seems plain and simple - propel the ensemble with a dynamic sense of swing.
- Downbeat Magazine
“Winard Harper, however, has proven since the late ‘80s to be one of the true great bandleaders who sits behind a drum kit while pushing his ensemble to explore international sounds ranging from African to Caribbean to Afro-Cuban, all wrapped around the core of Hard Bop jazz. ”
- Chicago Defender Demetrius Patterson
“Overall, Harper’s methodology translates into a smashing success, brimming with a charismatic sound and scope, largely driven by finesse and sheer firepower.”
- Ejazznews Glenn Astarita
...It was the evening's third piece, Here's to Life, that most clearly expressed the band's spirit
Willing to teach
Intermediate to advanced students
Winard has developed and delivered clinics, master classes and workshops for a number of settings ranging from Elementary school to post-graduate.
Having been a professional musician since the age of ten, Winard's musical career spans over thirty years of international touring, performance and recording. Numerous educational credits include regular participation with the Jazz in the Schools and Betty Carter Jazz Ahead programs at the Kennedy Center, where he is on faculty