Saturday, August 8, 2009

Winard Harper

Winard is a GREAT drummer who unfortunately doesn't get as much attention as he should these days. I first met Winard in 2003 when I was fortunate to study with him during the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency program held at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Harper is a really swingin' drummer and can propel a band like nobodies business. As a teacher he stressed the importance of laying down a solid grove above all else and really supporting and locking in with the ensemble.

He and his brother, who plays trumpet, had a great group called the "The Harper Brothers" during the "Young Lions" jazz craze of the early 90s - sort of a modern update of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers. I vividly remember hanging out with Dave Mossing during my first year at McGill and Dave playing me his CDs of this group. In fact, Winard was one of the first recorded jazz drummers that I checked out who (at the time) was under the age of 30 !

Here are a few clips of Winard doing his thing in a clinic:

I particularly enjoyed this clip of Winard playing a mean mallet solo with Pharoah Sanders.

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