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. The 2012 Album Coexist epitomises the band's multicultural approach.
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.
Those early years also instilled a strong sense of what it means to be a band. Building something together... sharing vision, cohesion, sacrifices and growth over time... that makes a band., says Harper.
The Baltimore native, born in 1962, got an early start with the support of his father and older brother, Danny. By age five, he was making guest appearances with Danny's band. He recalls an epiphany while listening to recordings. I was fascinated hearing Max do the things he did with percussion of all types, he recalls. “I knew jazz was what I wanted to play.”