For many years a mainstay at New York’s cabaret capital, the Carlyle Hotel, singer and pianist Loston Harris and his swing-infused trio present intoxicating takes on gems from the Great American Songbook, carrying on the tradition of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Short, and Nat King Cole.
Originally a drummer, Harris didn’t seriously approach the piano until his 20s, when New Orleans jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis heard him play at Virginia Commonwealth University and suggested he take up the piano full time. Studies with Geri Allen and Dr. Billy Taylor and steady work in Virginia led to tours with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and a role as second pianist with the great Marcus Roberts in the 1990s, and collaboration with horn giants Kenny Garrett, Joshua Redman and Roy Hargrove soon followed. Inspired by Nat King Cole, Harris began singing in the mid-90s and his 1996 debut, Stepping Stones, showed the young musician to be a remarkably assured, fully developed master of the swing tradition. Three increasingly accomplished albums led to his newest release, Swingfully Yours, featuring classics from Gershwin, Harold Arlen and Sammy Kahn, backed by Harris’ sterling trio. Of the album, JazzTimes says, “Harris and his ensemble pack every second with pure, no-nonsense swing.”