Detroit native, Robert Harris grew up listening to the music of George Benson, Stevie Wonder, Hall & Oats and the song writers of the seventies. It was there that his musical aspirations began at the early age of 12. At 16, he began playing guitar, and within a year was playing throughout the Detroit area at coffee houses, local restaurants and clubs. After high school, Robert made his way to the Seattle area. He spent several years touring the West Coast before heading south to Los Angeles. Within a year of being in L.A., Robert was signed with West Management & Record Company, where they produced Harris’ first CD project Don’t Wait.
Robert’s natural talent for the engineering side of the recording business resulted in him quickly becoming the head engineer at the West studio. He spent the next 10 years in L.A. arranging and producing projects and as a studio musician and sideman. Eventually he opened his own studio, Fast Trak Recording Studios. However, he missed performing and moved to Central Florida to forge a solo career. With the best musicians he could gather, he formed the Robert Harris Group and now performs regularly at festival and clubs all over the state.
Robert’s first solo smooth jazz CD Cool Breeze was released in 2004. This project showcased his talents on writing, producing and arranging and captured the interest of Sandy Shore, President of Smoothjazz.com. The tracks “Cool Breeze” and “Midnight Rendezvous” were featured on smoothjazz.com for several months and as a result were picked up by several radio stations around the world.
Harris’ most recently released project, City Lights offers a rich mix of rhythm and melodies with a feel good vibe. Joining Harris on the recording are Jimmy Seay on bass, Bruce Nardi on saxophone and flute, Michael Kahn on saxophone, and Steve Takahashi who assisted Harris with the drum programming. The first single, “Monaco” reached number 23 on the R & R indicator charts and has seen over 1000 downloads in just two weeks by fans worldwide!
The Robert Harris Group is one of the premier Jazz / R&B groups in central Florida, Robert averages 20 performances per month. In addition to their regular club dates, they have performed at several of the biggest outdoor jazz festivals in Central Florida. Most recently, RHG performed at the Daytona Jazz Festival where they opened for Walter Beasley, Spyro Gyra, and Jean-Luc Ponty. Robert has also opened for Mindi Abair at the Art and Music Festival at Lake Eola in Orlando, and Richard Elliot at the Winter Park Art Festival. Robert has also performed on Warren Hill’s Smooth Jazz Cruise and with Peter White and Kirk Whalum in a star search style competition.
When Robert Harris steps onto a stage, he's smiling. It happens every time. There's simply no other way to play live music, says the smooth-jazz bandleader. Not for him. "It's just what I am," Harris says. "For me, the glass is more than half full, all the time."
Recent Live Performances:
Daytona Jazz Festival
San Sebastian Winery Concert
St. Armand’s Jazz Festival
The St. Petersburg Pier Concert Series
LakeRidge Winery Art Festival
IMAGES Festival of the Arts
Leu Gardens Fall Jazz Event
WLOQ Jazz Jams Uptown Series
Lake Mary Jazz Festival
Kissimmee Jazz Festival
Friday Fest at the Van Wezel in Sarasota
Winter Park Fall Art Festival
New Smyrna Jazz Festival
WLOQ Summer Jazz Jam Concerts
Norwood’s Wine Festival
Avalon Park Market Fest
Uptown Summer Concert Series
Jacksonville Jazz Fest
Clubs and other Venues
Dexter’s of Winter Park
Jeffery’s Restaurant and Piano Bar
The Hyatt Grand Cypress
Blackfin in Winter Park
Gaylord Palms Hotel
Avalon Park MarketFest
Don’t Wait – written, produced and arranged by Harris and recorded at Fast Trak Studios 1994
Search Me – an inspirational CD written, produced, arranged by Harris and recorded at Canyon Lake Records 1998
Cool Breeze - Canyon Lake Records - 2004
City Lights – Canyon Lake Records - 2008
Miami Sun - Canyon Lake Records - 2010
“City Lights rich mix of rhythm, melody and feel good vibes is at times intoxicating, invariably pleasing and without a weak link in sight.” ~Smooth Jazz Therapy, June 23, 2008
“Robert Harris’ latest album, City Lights, makes you feel like there is no place that you would rather be than with your CD player listening to his songs.’’ ~ Susan Frances, Jazz Review
“A Cool Breeze of Smooth Jazz is exactly what the first project from Robert Harris brings to us. The nylon-string, acoustic guitar player has a superb sense of melody with articulate playing reminiscent of Peter White and Earl Klugh. You’ll be refreshed!” ~ Sandy Shore, Smoothjazz.com
City Lights, Cool Breeze and his previous inspirational albums are available online at Itunes, Amazon, Robertharrismusic.com, CDbaby.com & at all Robert Harris performances.