Music » Livewire

Donald Harrison

Wednesday, March 19, at Night Town.


Tap the mind of your average music listener, and the mention of New Orleans music would probably yield images of Dixieland bands, the Neville Brothers, or some inane version of "When the Saints Go Marching In." Truth be told, there is a diversity of styles that goes beyond those emblematic stereotypes. Saxophonist Donald Harrison knows this, and as a result, he's able to deliver a tasty mix of his native New Orleans influences in an acoustic-jazz context. His alto sound contains ample doses of Cannonball Adderley and Johnny Hodges, paired with a hard bop flair that came from his post-grad studies with such jazz leaders as Ellis Marsalis, Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, and Jack McDuff.

With an ear toward the current generation and more recent developments, Harrison has crafted his own contemporary mélange, which he's termed "nouveau swing," taking grooves from funk, Jamaican dancehall, hip-hop, Caribbean soca, gospel, and a bevy of other genres. The fourth and most recent document of Harrison's vision is Real Life Stories (Nagel-Heyer), a broad, all-encompassing album. "You don't exclude, you include, because jazz wouldn't be here if people didn't include," Harrison explains. "The beauty of jazz is that you can find the things that are truly you, tell a story, and people can be touched by it."

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.