(Flushing, New York)— On Friday, December 2 at 8:00 PM, Flushing Town Hall will pay tribute to one of the greatest NEA Jazz Masters with “Songs for Barry Harris,” featuring NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan, bassist Harvie S, and jazz guitarist Roni Ben-Hur. The trio will perform jazz standards and tunes Barry Harris played throughout his phenomenal career and share unique stories and memories about the outstanding jazz luminary for the anniversary of his passing.
Master Harris died one year ago, on December 8, 2021, at the remarkable age of 91. He gave his final public performance at Flushing Town Hall’s 15th annual NEA Jazz Masters concert just one month prior.
All three featured performers have a very special connection to the late Dr. Barry Harris. Sheila Jordan grew up in Detroit and knew Dr. Harris as a teenager; they remained good friends across the decades. Roni Ben-Hur started out as a student of Dr. Harris, later playing in his band and recording some classic albums with him. Harvie S played with Dr. Harris over many years and taught with him in summer programs at the Manhattan School of Music. Audiences can look forward to a very moving and uplifting tribute to the influential Jazz Master.
Raised in poverty in Pennsylvania’s coal-mining country, Sheila Jordan began singing as a child, and by the time she was in her early teens, she was working semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. Her first great influence was Charlie Parker. After moving to New York in the early 50s, she married Parker’s pianist, Duke Jordan, and studied with Lennie Tristano, but it was not until the early 60s that she made her first recordings. By the late 70s, jazz audiences had begun to understand her uncompromising style a little more, and her popularity increased. Jazz journalist Scott Yanow describes her as “one of the most consistently creative of all jazz singers.”
Harvie S, award-winning bassist, educator, composer, arranger, and producer, is continually challenging himself and his peers, expanding the borders of musical direction. He has performed and recorded with Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, Tony Bennett, Ray Baretto, Paquito D’Rivera, Mark Turner, Jim Hall, Billy Hart, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Chico O’Farrill, Danilo Perez, Maria Schneider, Toots Thielemans, Ray Vega, James Williams, Phil Woods, Kenny Barron, Chick Corea, Sheila Jordan, Steve Kuhn, Pat Martino, Wycliff Gordon, David Mathews, Ingrid Jenson, Anat Cohen, James Weidman, Jim Hall, Mike Stern, Dr. Billy Taylor, and countless others. He can be heard on twenty albums as a leader, fifteen as a co-leader, and over four hundred albums as a sideman. Harvie S was selected as a Jazz Ambassador for the United States and toured throughout Europe and Southeast Asia in this honored capacity. He has been a guest on NPR’s All Things Considered and Fresh Air.
Jazz guitarist Roni Ben-Hur has earned a sterling reputation as a musician and educator, renowned for his golden tone, improvisational brilliance, compositional lyricism, and ability to charm peers, students, and listeners alike. Eminent jazz critic Gary Giddins wrote in the Village Voice: “A limber and inventive guitarist, Ben-Hur keeps the modernist flame alive and pure, with a low flame burning in every note… [He’s] a guitarist who knows the changes and his own mind.” Ben-Hur – born in Israel in 1962 but a longtime American citizen, now based in New Jersey – has released nine albums as leader or co-leader, with Time Out New York calling him “a formidable and consummately lyrical guitarist.” The Star-Ledger of New Jersey summed him up this way: “A deep musician, a storyteller, Ben-Hur works with a warm, glowing sound and has an alluring way of combining engaging notes with supple rhythm.” Along with releasing acclaimed educational products – including the instructional DVD Chordability and method book Talk Jazz: Guitar – Ben-Hur has directed international jazz camps for nearly 15 years. Jazz guitar star Russell Malone got it right when he said: “Everything Roni does is beautiful. He has the magic touch.”
Barry Harris was a magnificent American jazz pianist, bandleader, composer, arranger, and educator. Among the many honors and recognitions he received during the course of his life, Harris was named an NEA Jazz Master in 1989 by the National Endowment for the Arts. He was America’s oldest, living jazz professor and was said to be the world’s jazz professor, as he demonstrated his theories and methods in workshops and seminars across the globe and online. Master Barry Harris first joined Flushing Town Hall’s NEA Jazz Masters series in 2007 alongside Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Tootie Heath, and Benny Powell. When at times, health challenges prevented his participation in subsequent concerts in our series, he generously invited NEA Jazz Master pianists Jo Anne Brackeen and Kenny Barron to take his place, helping bring more living legends to our beloved corner of Queens. He was beloved by Flushing Town Hall’s staff and audiences.
“The esteemed Barry Harris graced our stage on multiple occasions over the years, and we are honored that he shared his talents with our audiences,” says Executive & Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek. “Sheila Jordan, Harvie S, and Roni Ben-Hur have all known Master Harris for many years, and I know that they will deliver a fantastic and heart-warming tribute to the great person and musician he was.”
The concert on December 2 begins at 8:00 PM. For those unable to attend in person, the performance will also be live-streamed online on YouTube for $10. Tickets are $40/$32 members/$20 students w/ID. Table packages for two w/ refreshments are available for $130/$110 members. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.flushingtownhall.org/songs-for-barry-harris.
Upcoming Jazz Programming at Flushing Town Hall
Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 7:00 PM Louis Armstrong Legacy Monthly Jazz Jam (Dec. 2022) In-person Tickets: $10/FREE for Members, Students, & Jamming Musicians Open to jazz students, musicians, and music educators, Monthly Jazz Jams are a fun way to hone your skills and jam with your peers. The house band, led by saxophonist Carol Sudhalter opens each jam with the work of Louis Armstrong. Don’t play? Come listen! https://flushingtownhall.org/jazz-jam-dec-2022
COVID Policy: Although as of March 7, 2022, New York City has relaxed its COVID policies for indoor arts and entertainment events, Flushing Town Hall will maintain its prior policy for the safety of its audiences, artists, and staff. This policy will remain in effect until further notice: Flushing Town Hall requires all visitors, performers, and staff to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 with matching identification. Additionally, masks will be required at all times. For more details on Flushing Town Hall’s Covid-safety measures and vaccine requirements, please visit https://www.flushingtownhall.org/covid-safety.
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Flushing Town Hall is a not-for-profit organization and receives major support in 2022 from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim; The City of New York, Mayor Eric Adams; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Laurie Cumbo; Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; The New York City Council, Speaker Adrienne E. Adams and New York City Council Members Sandra Ung, Tiffany Caban, Shekar Krishnan, Linda Lee, Vickie Paladino, Lynn Schulman, and Jessica Won; Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Guru Krupa Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
About Flushing Town Hall Flushing Town Hall (FTH), a Smithsonian affiliate, presents multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York City in order to foster mutual appreciation. As advocates of arts equity since 1979, we support local, immigrant, national, and international artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts. As a member of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), we serve to restore, manage and program the historic 1862 landmark on behalf of the City of New York. FTH celebrates the history of Queens as the home of Jazz, by presenting the finest in Jazz performance. We are committed to arts education and hands-on learning, for the arts-curious, art enthusiasts, and professional artists. We serve one of the most diverse communities in the world and strive to uphold the legacy of inclusiveness that has defined our community since the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.
Flushing Town Hall is a proud member of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), a collective of 34 nonprofit museums, performing arts centers, historical societies, zoos, and botanical gardens across all five boroughs with a distinct private-public partnership with the City of New York and a commitment to serving all New Yorkers.
Land Acknowledgement Flushing Town Hall acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Matinecock People, one of the original tribes of New York, and the first people of Flushing, Queens. The Matinecock continue to live and work on this land to this day. Flushing Town Hall honors their elders who have stewarded this land throughout generations.