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Loston Harris

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Loston Harris' recorded debut as a leader, Comes Love (N2K) in 1998, cast him in the role of a traditionalist who played expert modern swing piano (with touches of Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal and Red Garland) and took a few cheerful vocals (including on "Close Your Eyes" and "Comes Love"). A subtle improviser, Harris (heard with a trio/quartet) was reshaping the past and sounding quite creative within the older style. He actually had started seriously playing piano fairly late. Harris had some piano lessons when he was five but soon dropped the instrument. Instead he played drums from the time he was ten until he hit his early twenties, primarily rock and r&b. He received a scholarship to Virginia Commonwealth University and was initially a percussion major. However Ellis Marsalis (who was a visiting professor at VCU) heard Harris jamming on the piano and he suggested that he switch instruments since Harris a natural feel for the piano. Soon Harris was practicing eight-to-ten hours a day and, when Marsalis returned to New Orleans, he transferred to Howard University. He had opportunities to study with Geri Allen and Billy Taylor and was soon working locally. After graduating, Harris landed a local gig three nights a week in Reston, Virginia that continued throughout the 1990's. In addition, he toured with Wynton Marsalis in 1995, played second piano for Marcus Roberts on his "Portraits In Blue" tour in 1996 and had opportunities to play with Kenny Garrett, Roy Hargrove and Joshua Redman. Loston Harris began singing in the mid-1990's after being inspired by Nat King Cole records and he clearly has strong potential for the future. ~ Scott Yanow

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