SASSY Award Finalist Allan Harris Talks About His Evolution As A Jazz Singer
The Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, presented by NJPAC in Newark, recently announced the five finalists for the competition on November 20. Allan Harris, Kristin Lash, Ekep Nkwelle, Lucía Gutiérrez Rebolloso and Lucy Yeghiazaryan will compete in front of a panel of judges, including Regina Carter, Christian McBride, TS Monk, Maria Schneider and WBGO’s Pat Prescott. Held as the culminating event of the TD James Moody Jazz Festival, the SASSY Awards, as they are informally known, will be hosted by WBGO’s Gary Walker and the event will feature performances from the 2021 co-winners: Tawanda Suessbrich- Joaquin and Gabrielle Cavassa.
Gary Walker interviews each of the finalists in the weeks leading up to the competition. This week he spoke with his friend Allan Harris about how he grew up in Brooklyn and took the D train to Harlem to eat and enjoy the atmosphere of his aunt Kate’s Home Cooking soul food restaurant, located just behind the legendary Apollo Theater. There Harris saw and in some cases met Ellington, Sarah, Count Basie, Ella and legions of other jazz and R&B stars, influencing his own musical life to this day. Harris also spoke with Walker about his development and evolution as a jazz singer, as well as his “Black Cowboy” project.
Watch their conversation here:
Interview of Allan Harris by Gary Walker