LIVE AT BLUE LLAMA"
#1 on Jazz Week Charts
RELEASE DATE: JULY 28, 2023
"Harris’ ... a modern-day Nat King Cole with a crooner’s touch that will evoke Gregory Porter and even greats such as Sinatra and the late Tony Bennett. Be assured though that Harris adds a soulful touch to any song he takes on."
~Jim Hynes - Making a Scene
"Harris is also an accomplished guitarist, able to play many styles. Here he is heard playing the electric slide guitar on the slow, simmering "Black Coffee Blues."
~Dave Linn - All About Jazz
"Allan doing what he does best - singing and playing straight ahead jazz at an intimate club packed with jazz devotees."
~ Bill Buckley - Soul&Jazz&Funk
"His voice is a balance of intimacy and strength, of longing and love, a simmering smokey seduction. He is a breeze of fresh air, a blaze of sunshine, a rumble of all-knowing thunder, a feast of delicious tastes and textures. He sings, plays the guitar, scats, and croons. He is perfection."
~ Holly Harms - Front Row Center
Meet The Band
NORMAN EDWARDS JR
"Live at Blue LLama"
Renowned vocalist and guitarist Allan Harris is proud to announce the release of his new album, Live at Blue LLama. Recorded live at the state-of-the-art jazz club in January of this year, Harris’ first live album in over thirteen years showcases his current working band at their artistic peak, and displays their deep musical bond and connection, all in front of an attentive live audience. Joining the soulful crooner is pianist and keyboardist Arcoiris Sandoval, bassist Marty Kenney, drummer Norman Edwards, and saxophonist-flutist Irwin Hall. Live at Blue LLama will be released on July 28 via Love Productions Records in association with Live at the Blue LLama Records.
Called the “Jazz Vocal King of New York”, Allan Harris has stunned audiences for nearly four decades. Known for his “formidable baritone with … husky edges and deep resonant low notes" (Stephen Holden, the New York Times), Harris has released fourteen albums, including 2021’s love letter to Harlem Kate’s Soulfood, which propelled him to be named one of 8 Artists Honoring Black Geniuses by Grammy.com. During the pandemic, Harris and his tight-knit band gained international recognition for their “Harlem After Dark” live-stream concerts, which brought audiences into the Harris’ lively living room every Tuesday night. Highlighted by Forbes Magazine, this ritual kept the band in top musical shape, artistically challenged, and encouraged a much-needed sense of camaraderie among the musicians and their virtual audience. “The world was turned upside down but we knew each week we’d come together and make some music to share with our friends around the world,” Harris reflected. When COVID restrictions subsided and touring resumed, Harris and band went on the road, eager to bring their musical magic to a real-life audience.
Set to play for two nights at the Blue LLama in January 2023, Harris decided it was time to capture the sound and vibe of this particularly solid band, and felt that the Ann Arbor, Michigan venue would be the perfect place to do it. A top level jazz club with particularly great acoustics and a savvy engineer, Blue LLama is one of Harris’ favorite places to play. Allan Harris Live at the Blue LLama captures the vocal maestro in top form, and showcases the engaging warmth and crackling magic that only live music can bring.
This curated collection of ten selections was combed from Harris’ diverse and genre-spanning repertoire, sourced from over forty years of musical artistry. The set kicks off with “Sunny”, the Bobby Hebb-classic that holds a special place in Harris’ heart. “Watching Bobby Hebb and Ron Carter perform this as a young child moved me in a profound way,” Harris shares. “I was so moved by their storytelling… I wanted to do that!” Sandoval shines on the first of many stand-out solos here, and audibly brings the audience to their feet. Harris slows the tempo down on the Duke Person/Oscar Brown Jr-penned “Jeannine”, before launching into the feel-good “New Day”, a highlight from his latest studio album, Kate’s Soulfood.
Harris then launches into a touching rendition of the ballad “The Very Thought of You”. Its inclusion here is a poignant call-back to his first live album, Long Live the King, a Nat King Cole-themed set recorded live at the Kennedy Center and released in 2010. Harris then launches into the Miles Davis stalwart “So What” featuring Eddie Jefferson’s famous vocalese that recounts the infamous moment in the 1950’s when Miles and Coltrane were not happy with their performance and walked off stage to practice before returning to the gig. This one features another burning solo by Sandoval. Harris moves on to a pair of originals including the blues-drenched “Black Coffee Blues” and a new composition entitled “Shimmering Deep Blue Sea”, which takes inspiration from old black and white noir films.
Harris’ take on Chick Corea and Al Jarreu’s “Spain” comes up next. A song imbued with history, Harris has been performing “Spain” since the 1970’s, and it has long been a staple during his live shows. He approaches the end of the set with another upbeat original on which Irwin Hall delivers a particularly lyrical solo, “There She Goes”, which first appeared on his 2001 release Open Up Your Mind, and finally, closes things up on this sonic journey that is Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy” with a new arrangement by Sandoval.
Produced with minimal editing, Allan Harris - Live at Blue LLama is an honest representation of this vocal giant. “I am really proud to present to the world this live recording. It is a sonic window into the world that I inhabit when stepping onto the performance stage, and I hope it moves you,” Harris shares.
Described by the Miami Herald as possessing a voice with “the warmth of Tony Bennett, the bite and rhythmic sense of Sinatra, and the sly elegance of Nat ‘King' Cole,” Harris has garnered wide acclaim from critics and legions of fans from all over the world. His nationally acclaimed smash Cross That River, which tells the unsung story of America’s black cowboys and sheds light on their oft-overlooked contribution in taming the American West has garnered widespread attention; Cross That River was featured in the New York Times, on NPR’s Weekend Edition, and on CBS and NBC.