Leroy Harris

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This St. Louis reed player is a veteran, to be sure, having worked in the fine innovative bands of Earl Hines as a young man in the '40s, then becoming an outspoken honker in rhythm & blues bands such…
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This St. Louis reed player is a veteran, to be sure, having worked in the fine innovative bands of Earl Hines as a young man in the '40s, then becoming an outspoken honker in rhythm & blues bands such as the smoking outfit led by Wynonie Harris. He also fit in some smooth ballad obligato and swinging jazz sounds on records by the lovely vocalist Sarah Vaughan. One thing he did not do, although he is often mistakenly credited with it, was to play banjo on the '20s recordings of King Oliver and Clarence Williams. To do that he would have had to have been a member of these bands at the age of nine. He is also not the same Leroy Harris as the classical composer Roy Harris, who lets family and close friends call him Leroy, as long as they aren't about to hand him an alto sax and tell him to blow a solo on the song "Don't Roll Your Bloodshot Eyes at Me." Our man Harris has hung in bigtime in St. Louis and has his own star on that city's downtown Hollywood-style tribute to its performers and celebrities. In 1988 Harris was part of a panel which presented a lecture entitled "Veteran St. Louis Jazz Artists."