Craig S. Harris
Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant Recipient
New York, New York
Year of Award
Grant or Fellowship
Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant
About the Project
Harris and his Harlem Nightsongs Ensemble will enhance his long standing residency at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, Harlem. In the tradition of Charles Mingus and Sam Rivers, young musicians are invited to sub for elders. The public is invited to free afternoon rehearsals and evening performances. Pre-show talks on social issues occur with invited speakers.
About the Artist
When Craig Harris exploded onto the jazz scene in 1976, he brought the entire history of the jazz trombone with him. From the growling gutbucket intensity of early New Orleans music through the refined, articulate improvisation of the modern era set forth by J.J. Johnson, into the confrontational expressionism of the ‘60s avant-garde, Craig handled the total vernacular the way a skilled orator utilizes the spoken word. He has performed with a veritable Who’s Who of progressive jazz’s most important figures and his own projects display both a unique sense of concept and a total command of the sweeping expanse of musical expression. Those two qualities have dominated Craig’s forty years of activity, bringing him far beyond the confines of the jazz world into the sphere of multimedia and performance art as composer, performer, conceptualist, music curator and artistic director. Coming from a tradition of employing art as a cultural facilitation to help promote change, Craig has used his musical voice to comment on social injustice with projects including God’s Trombones, based on James Weldon Johnson’s book of sermons; Souls Within the Veil commemorating the centennial of W.E.B. DuBois’s seminal work; TriHarlenium, a sound portrait and 30-year musical time capsule of Harlem; and Brown Butterfly, a tribute to the exquisite movements of Muhammad Ali. Craig’s many grant awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Meet the Composers New Works Commission, the Rockefeller Foundation (MAPP International), Mary Flager Cary Charitable Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, Lila Wallace Readers Digest Award, the Ford Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Creative Capital, Nathan Cumming Foundation, Jerome Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Arts International, and New York State Council of the Arts. A finalist for the distinguished Greenfield Prize, Craig is co-composer of the score for the Oscar nominated, award-winning film, Judas and the Black Messiah.