Donald Harrison Jr. (born June 23, 1960) is an American jazz saxophonist from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Harrison studied at Southern University and Berklee College of Music. He played with Roy Haynes, Jack McDuff, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and Don Pullen in the 1980s. He also played with the re-formed Headhunters band in the 1990s. In 1991 he recorded Indian Blues which captured the sound and culture of Congo Square in a jazz context. In 1994 Harrison created the "Nouveau Swing" style of jazz, which merges the swing beat with today's dance music.
Harrison also performs in the smooth jazz genre. His group, Donald Harrison Electric Band, has recorded popular radio hits and have charted in the top ten of Billboard magazine. He performs as a producer, singer and rapper in the traditional Afro-New Orleans culture and hiphop genres with his group, The New Sounds of Mardi Gras. The group, which has recorded two albums, was started in 2001 and has made appearances worldwide. Harrison is the Big Chief of the Congo Nation Afro-New Orleans Cultural Group, which keeps alive the secret traditions of Congo Square. He also writes for orchestras.
Harrison was chosen as the "person of the year" by Jazziz magazine in January 2007. His latest albums, 3D Vols. I, II, and III, feature him in three different musical genres. On Vol. I he writes, plays, and produces music in the smooth jazz, and R&B style. On Vol. II he writes, produces and plays in the classic jazz style. On Vol. III he writes plays and produces in the hiphop genre.
In 2016 Harrison recorded his first orchestral work with The Moscow Symphony Orchestra. He is a natural composer because he amazingly composes and orchestrates classical orchestral music with out ever taking any classes in writing or orchestrating for symphonic orchestra. He followed up the piece for the MSO by writing new classical orchestral works for the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra, The New York Chamber Orchestra and The Jalapa Symphony Orchestra in 2017.
Harrison has nurtured a number of young musicians including the young Grammy-nominated trumpeter Christian Scott (Harrison's nephew), as well as Mark Whitfield, Cyrus Chestnut, Christian McBride, and The Notorious B.I.G. Harrison was featured in Spike Lee's HBO documentary, When the Levees Broke, and has appeared as himself in 11 episodes of HBO's Treme in which the characters Albert and Delmond Lambreaux are based on his life.
With Art Blakey
With Joanne Brackeen
With The Headhunters
With Don Pullen
With Dr. Lonnie Smith
With Esperanza Spalding
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