Tom Harrison Quintet

Music undergraduate George Barbett tells us about last week’s visit from the Tom Harrison Quintet.

The Tom Harrison Quintet performed a captivating concert on Monday 21 November, interpreting the music of Duke Ellington in new and interesting ways. Their use of soundscaping, acoustic and electronic effects, and very free forms was fascinating.

Following the concert, the quintet ran a workshop focused on ballad playing, specifically on Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing”. Singer Cleveland Watkiss and saxophonist Tom Harrison spoke insightfully on phrasing for vocals and lead instruments, that melody lines should be delivered with poise and purpose, giving examples themselves. We were then encouraged to attempt the same. Drummer Dave Lyttle showed us his individual approach to drum playing in ballads. He suggested using techniques such as imitating melody lines and unusual soundscaping techniques, such as cymbal harmonics. The band also discussed, at great length, the measures that one must take to become a successful jazz musician, notably citing transcribing the masters of jazz to develop jazz language.

Workshop participants with the Tom Harrison Quintet

Thank you to the Tom Harrison Quintet for such an interesting and enjoyable experience!