In a career spanning some three decades, drummer and bandleader Winard Harper is still one of the most in-demand drummers on the jazz scene. He continues to back the likes of Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Joe Lovano, and Steve Turre. During the 1980's both he and his brother, trumpeter Phillip Harper, were part of the growing class of young jazz musicians that came out hailed as "the Young Lions." This group of musicians took the music world by storm bringing a bold and rash approach to the music and legacy of jazz music. Musicians like Wynton and Branford Marsails, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Cyrus Chestnut, James Carter, Roy Hargrove, and endless others resuscitated the music at a time when jazz music was out of the limelight both commercially and artistically in the public eye.
It was during the 1980's when Winard cut his teeth in the business backing the legendary Betty Carter, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, and Etta Jones.
Today, Winard is back and on the top of his game with his new group, Winard Harper and Jeli Posse. He recently performed at the famed Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, New York as part of this year's 2012 Harlem Jazz Shrines Jazz Festival. His set paid tribute to his mentor and dear friend, the late Max Roach. Harper's new group is in the spirit of Max and Art Blakey in that he pays homage to the great history of jazz music to its lineage to Africa. He's also allowing new and young jazz musicians get a chance to become better musicians and get a opportunity to become leaders in their own right.
Jeli Posse consists of: Bruce Harris(Trumpet), Michael Dease(Trombone), Jonathan Beshay(Tenor Saxophone), Roy Assaf(Piano), Noah Jackson(Bass), Jazzmeia Horn(Vocals), and Alioune Fay(Percussion).
Winard Harper & Jeli Posse's upcoming disc "Coexist" will be released on the Jazz Legacy Productions label in August.
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