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The Gene Harris SuperBand

The Gene Harris Superband performing

Headline Concert

Friday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.

In the mid-1980s, the corporation Philip Morris established a grant program in part intended to create a series of “Superband” concert tours that would bring the biggest names in jazz to the world stage.  Gene Harris was added to the group in 1988, and soon became the touring group’s leader.  Initally, these bands were smaller quartets, quintets, and sextets, but in 1989 Philip Morris decided it was time for a true big band, once again with Gene as the pianist and conductor.  The tour began with a live-recorded concert at the Town Hall in New York City, and continued on to 14 countries (including a memorable stop in East Germany on exactly the day that the Berlin Wall came down).   In 1990 another tour was put together, this time with Ray Charles and B.B. King as the headliners, followed by one final trip around the world the next year.  In the course of their work, the big band released two albums and featured among their ranks Slide Hampton, James Moody, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Ray Brown, Jeff Hamilton, James Morrison, and many more incredible musicians!

Charts for the Gene Harris-Philip Morrison Superband collaboration are written by John Clayton, Frank Wess, Jerry Dodgion, Torrie Zito, and a few more arrangers.  We are very fortunate to have most of the library housed here at Boise State University.  Each year during the Gene Harris Jazz Festival, we play several charts from the Superband library in honor of their great contribution to the history of jazz.  The Gene Harris Festival Superband is patterned after those illustrious groups and this year features the following musicians:

Saxophones
*David Bixler, alto
+Rodney Zuroeveste**, alto
*Steve Owen, tenor
Sandon Mayhew**, tenor
TJ Eriksen, bari

Trumpets
*Tanya Darby, lead
+Alex Noppe
Pat Absalonson
Jack Gardner

Trombones
*Jenny Kellogg, lead
Eric Stone
+Sarah Paradis
Dan Howard, bass**

Rhythm Section
+Chuck Smith, piano
+Clay Moore, guitar
*Erik Applegate, bass
*Todd Strait, drums

* 2017 GHJF Adjudicators/Clinicians
** Boise State Alumni
+ Current Boise State Faculty