Song of the Day: Barry Harris, “Body and Soul”

Barry Harris died on December 8, aged 91. An acclaimed pianist/composer, Harris began learning piano at the age of four and emerged during the bebop period, accompanying the likes of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Lester Young in his formative years. He soon garnered much respect as a bandleader in his own right, as well as a passionate educator. He taught several generations of jazz greats and continued to teach to the end, including during the pandemic, via Zoom sessions.

Harris’ virtuosic playing was legendary, the result of much soul-searching and a profound passion for the music’s cultural heritage. It evoked the likes of Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum and, especially, Bud Powell. He excelled in solo piano performances and his 1960 Riverside LP, Listen to Barry Harris, is widely considered a landmark solo piano recording. Listen to his illuminating take on the well-worn standard “Body and Soul” from this record via the player below.

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