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Origin:
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Decades:
1955-2000

Gene Harris (September 1, 1933, Benton Harbor, Michigan – January 16, 2000) was an American jazz pianist known for his warm sound and blues and gospel infused style that is known as soul jazz.

From 1956 to 1970, he played in The Three Sounds trio with bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy. During this time, The Three Sounds recorded regularly for Blue Note and Verve.

He was mostly retired to Boise, Idaho, starting in the late 1970s, although he performed regularly at the Idanha Hotel there. Then, Ray Brown convinced him to go back on tour in the early 1980s. He played with the Ray Brown Trio and then led his own groups, recording mostly on Concord Records, until his death from kidney failure in 2000.

Harris' "Ode to Billie Joe" is known as a jazz classic. One of his most popular numbers was his "Battle Hymn of the Republic," a live version of which is on his Live at Otter Crest album, published by Concord.


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