Over the last several years Lezlie Harrison’s burnished, soulful alto and striking beauty and distinctive blend of jazz, classic 70's soul, and original music has become a fixture on the New York jazz scene.
Often heard around New York City in venues like Sweet Rhythm, the Zinc Bar, and the St. Nick’s Pub, Harrison also plays frequently at the Jazz Gallery with her own group and with Roy Hargrove --- All About Jazz voted one such engagement with Hargrove “Best Performance” of 2006. Luminaries like Dr. Lonnie Smith and Grady Tate have brought her funky, sultry presence to their bandstands, and Alex Diaz y Son del la Calle often use Lezlie as their featured vocalist at SOB. Harrison performs at Sweet Rhythm in Greenwich Village, weekly for Rhythm and Blues Tuesday’s and hosts the “Sunday Evening Jazz Jam” at Frank’s Lounge in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She was the featured vocalist at last year’s Charlie Parker Jazz festival, opening for Abbey Lincoln at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem. International engagements include extended gigs in Paris, Istanbul and Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera, and St. Martin.
Harrison has excelled in other area of creative performance. These include early theatrical experiences with the NEC and success as an on-air radio personality, first with a weekly jazz program at WBGO, and more recently hosting the blues channel on Sirius Satellite radio. Harrison is a co-founder of The Jazz Gallery.
Harrison is currently at work on her debut CD featuring her band, Saul Rubin on guitar, Greg Lewis on B3 organ, and Alfredo “ Catfish” Alias on drums, with a guest appearance by trumpeter Roy Hargrove. On it, Lezlie draws upon the deepest foundations of her musical orientation: the soul music that surrounded her during formative years in Harlem, the gospel music she sang as a child in her grandfather’s Methodist church in North Carolina. Drawn to male vocalists Marvin Gaye, Bill Withers, Sly Stone, and Johnny Hartman, Harrison’s trademark has been to update classic 70’s soul repertoire with a modern outlook. She calls them “the soul standards that shaped my life.”
After recently seeing Harrison sing, actor Kevin Bacon described her as “a very endearing performer.” She moves from a deeply felt blues to a swinging jazz tune, then takes it home with a soulful ballad that brings tears to your eyes. And you the audience are right there with her.
…knows how to deliver lyrics with feeling and tempo, Will Friedwald, New York Sun
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